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Jeff Hendrick almost helps prevent Cristiano Ronaldo making history…but not quite

3 weeks ago
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After only 10 minutes, Cristiano Ronaldo had the opportunity to make another little bit of history.

The chance to be the greatest international goalscorer in history if scoring his 110th goal.

Newcastle United’s Jeff Hendrick had presented him with the chance, bringing down Bruno Fernandes, now Man Utd colleague of Cristano Ronaldo.

VAR was called upon and declared a penalty. Fancy that, VAR assisting in awarding a penalty against a Newcastle player…

This was Portugal against the Republic of Ireland though in Wednesday night’s World Cup qualifier, the home side massive favourites to win.

Up stepped Cristiano Ronaldo to make history, only to see young keeper Gavin Bazunu make an exceptional save, one of many on the night.

Remarkably though, Ireland fed off that penalty save and whilst Portugal continued to dominate possession (final stats 72%) and shots (29 v 6), the visitors were posing problems of their own on the break and had chances to score themselves.

Newcastle midfielder Hendrick and his international teammates putting in a great shift as they prevented Portugal getting too close to goal too many times (only seven on target on the night despite dominating the possession), then on the stroke of half-time got their reward when Egan gave Ireland a shock lead.

A brilliant defensive rearguard continued after the break, with Ireland continuing to threaten on the break, then just when it looked as though they would reach the finishing line, Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo struck.

A cross from the right met by a perfect Ronaldo header, Portugal level and Cristiano Ronaldo now on 110 international goals, more than anybody else has ever scored for their country.

Better was to come for the home side as in the sixth minute of added time, a cross from the right was tiredly cleared back out to the right by Jeff Hendrick, another cross and with the last touch of the game an even better Cristiano Ronaldo header made it 111 international goals for the Man Utd player and a 2-1 win for Portugal.

Many of the Irish players sinking to the turf in disbelief, whilst for Newcastle fans this all felt like a bit of a rehearsal for now nine days time, when United visit Old Trafford for what is almost sure to be Ronaldo’s second home debut after his shock return transfer form Juventus.

After a shocking transfer window, in stark contrast to Man Utd’s, Newcastle fans will almost to a man / woman believe defeat and a VAR involved penalty (for a fourth Premier League games in a row) will be very much on the cards, though leading until the 89th minute with a clean sheet might not be quite so much on the cards.

Elsewhere on Tuesday night, two other Newcastle United players were in action for their countries.

Fabian Schar playing in the middle of three central defenders helped Switzerland to a 2-1 win over Greece in a friendly, Schar playing the full match in the first fixture since the Swiss unluckily exited on penalties two months ago to Spain in the Euros.

Meanwhile, Denmark outclassed Scotland 2-0 and it could / should have been more, the Danes playing their first fixture since exiting the Euros to England.

Denmark going two goals up inside the first 15 minutes but had a scare with 10 minutes to go, strolling to victory seemingly, it took a World Class save from Kasper Schmeichel to keep out an excellent low left foot shot from Ryan Fraser. The Newcastle player having a decent game and playing the full 90 minutes.

Full schedule of international matches in September involving Newcastle United players. The majority of the games are World Cup qualifiers, plus a few friendlies.

Wednesday 1 September

Denmark 2 Scotland 0

Comfortable win for Denmark in this World Cup qualifier but having a decent game, Newcastle’s Ryan Fraser struck a very good low left foot shot with 10 minutes to go, which produced a World class save from Kasper Schmeichel.

Portugal 2 Republic of Ireland 1

A dramatic night with Jeff Hendrick at the heart of it in this World Cup qualifier.

The Newcastle player bringing down Man Utd’s Fernandes to give Cristiano Ronaldo the chance to make history, with what would be his 110th international goal, a new World record in international football. However, the penalty brilliantly saved by the Irish keeper Bazunu.

Ireland took a shock lead on the stroke of half-time through Egan but left gutted as Cristiano Ronaldo produced superb headers in the 89th and 96th minutes to win the game for Portugal and now put him on 111 international goals, two more than anybody else has ever achieved.

Switzerland 2 Greece 1

A full 90 minutes for Newcastle’s Fabian Schar as Switzerland won the friendly, their first match since exiting the Euros against England.

Thursday 2 September

Sweden v Spain (Emil Krafth) World Cup qualifier

Lithuania v Northern Ireland (Jamal Lewis) World Cup qualifier

Saturday 4 September

Scotland v Moldova (Ryan Fraser) World Cup qualifier

Azerbaijan v Republic of Ireland (Jeff Hendrick) World Cup qualifier

Sunday 5 September

Sweden v Uzbekistan (Emil Krafth) Friendly

Estonia v Northern Ireland (Jamal Lewis) Friendly

Switzerland v Italy (Fabian Schar) World Cup qualifier

Tuesday 7 September

Austria v Scotland (Ryan Fraser) World Cup qualifier

Republic of Ireland v Serbia (Jeff Hendrick) World Cup qualifier

Wednesday 8 September

Greece v Sweden (Emil Krafth) World Cup qualifier

Northern Ireland v Switzerland (Jamal Lewis and Fabian Schar) World Cup qualifier

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