Ronaldo breaks goalscoring record and Irish hearts

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo heads Portugal’s 89th-minute equaliser past the Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu. Photograph: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile/Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo missed a penalty but still broke the men’s international scoring record before adding a second goal as Portugal beat visiting Ireland 2-1 in World Cup qualifying on Wednesday.

Ronaldo grabbed his 110th goal in the 89th minute to move ahead of former Iran striker Ali Daei. Ronaldo’s extraordinary feat made for an agonizing end for the Ireland manager, Stephen Kenny, whose team delivered an intelligent and confident performance, proving they have made serious progress since losing at home to Luxembourg in March.

Six minutes into stoppage time, Ronaldo made it 111 in 180 games to break Irish hearts after defender John Egan gave his nation the lead in the 45th. Ronaldo said,

 “I’m very happy. Not only because I beat the record but for the special moments we had getting two goals at the end of the game is so tough, I appreciate what the team did.”

For a long time, it looked like Ronaldo would be upstaged by Bazunu. The 19-year-old goalkeeper, who is on loan at Portsmouth from Manchester City, made an error in the 10th minute by leaving a pass short to Jeff Hendrick, who was judged to have tripped Bruno Fernandes as he stretched to reach it. Bazunu made amends and vindicated Kenny’s decision to make him the country’s first-choice keeper by diving to the right to push away Ronaldo’s powerful spot-kick.

Ronaldo, who has returned to join Manchester United, is still 76 goals behind the game’s most prolific international scorer. Christine Sinclair, who is 38 years old, scored her 187th goal for Canada last month at the Tokyo Olympics.