Analysis: Stephen Kenny’s side prove they are capable of using dark arts to counter greatness

THAT mixture of precision passing and pouting usually works for Portugal, a team for whom the dark arts of football truly is an art form. It has worked against big and brave teams before, but for long spells the Irish answer to that was working.

nd yet in Faro, with the advantage of an almost exclusively home support and a referee who seemed to lack the confidence needed to take charge of a match where one of the game’s all-time greats looked to break an all-time scoring record, Portugal had all the information they needed, all the talent in the world at their disposal, and yet they had few answers.

Well, they had two, from one man. Two goals from Cristiano Ronaldo late on erased what had come over the 88 minutes of normal time when they were unable to get ahead.

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