Cristiano Ronaldo’s late double against the Republic of Ireland in 2022 World Cup qualifying saw the Portugal captain break the men’s international goal record.

After losing both of their opening Group A games, Stephen Kenny’s men were in need of a positive result on what was billed as Ronaldo’s big night at the Estadio Algarve.

Ronaldo, who completed his switch back to Manchester United ahead of the transfer deadline, had a golden chance to move clear of Ali Daei’s mark from the penalty spot in the 15th minute.

However, his early penalty – given after a lengthy VAR review – was saved by 19-year-old Portsmouth goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu.

Sheffield United defender John Egan then headed Ireland in front from a corner just before the break to scores his first international goal.

That looked to have been enough to secure the Republic a memorable victory, only for Ronaldo to glance in a header with just one minute left – and then in the fifth minute of stoppage time, the United frontman produced a repeat finish to spark wild celebrations.

The late victory puts Portugal three clear of Serbia at the top of Group A, having played a match more, while Ireland remain pointless.

Denmark 2-0 Scotland

Denmark struck early to finish off Scotland in their 2-0 World Cup qualifying win in Copenhagen.

Steve Clarke’s side were two down in 15 minutes through goals from Daniel Wass and Joakim Maehle and were then run ragged for the rest of the first half.

A reshuffled Scotland side with Lyndon Dykes on for the second half showed marked improvement but nowhere near enough to dent the scoreline.

While defeat was no surprise, it puts the Scots’ qualification hopes under a harsher light.

Scotland now have five points from a possible 12 and face Moldova at Hampden Park on Saturday before a trip to Austria next Tuesday and they are running out of points to lose.

Kasper Hjulmand’s side, who reached the semi-finals of Euro 2020, have won all four Group F games and look to be cruising to qualification.

Source: SL