Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Man City loanee playing in third-tier saves Cristiano Ronaldo penalty

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Man City loanee playing in third-tier saves Cristiano Ronaldo penalty

The Republic of Ireland’s teenage goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu saved a penalty from Cristiano Ronaldo during the first half of their World Cup qualifier away to Portugal.

19-year-old Bazunu is on loan at League One Portsmouth from Premier League champions Man City and is earning his fifth appearance in goal for Ireland.

This is a firm contrast to Ronaldo, who returned to Manchester United on Tuesday, who was hoping to score his 110th goal for Portugal and set a new record for most international goals.

The veteran striker was tied on 109 with legendary former Iran striker Ali Daei, who set the current record in March 2006.

The hosts were awarded a penalty in the 10th minute after a foul by Jeff Hendrick on Bruno Fernandes was penalized by the Slovenian referee.

After a long delay whilst the officials deliberated with the VAR room, Ronaldo stepped up against Bazunu from 12 yards out.

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However, the teenage stopper dived to his right to make a majestic save and palm the ball away from danger, to the United man’s desperation.

Bazunu made his professional debut for Shamrock Rovers as a 16-year-old before moving to Manchester City in February 2019.

He has since endured a loan spell in the third tier with Rochdale before arriving at Fratton Park for the season in July, where he has already kept three clean sheets in four appearances for Pompey.

The young stopper has began to establish himself as Stephen Kenny’s first choice for the national team, despite only making his senior international debut in March.

The Boys in Green charged after Ronaldo’s penalty miss as they weathered the early storm before growing into the match as the first half wore on.

Their endeavors were repaid on the stroke of half-time as John Egan rose highest to head home a corner from Jamie McGrath to give the visitors the league.

This was Egan’s first goal for his country and was sufficient to see Kenny’s side go in ahead at the break at the Estadio Algarve.

However, Ronaldo was able to confirm his status in the football game as he scored twice late into the match to save his Portugal team from embarrassment.

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Man City loanee playing in third-tier saves Cristiano Ronaldo penalty

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