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With his 110th and 111th goals for Portugal, Cristiano Ronaldo broke the world record for goals scored in men’s international football and in doing so turned the World Cup qualifying match against Ireland on its head, with his head, by equalising in the 89th minute and then securing the winner five minutes into stoppage time.
The 36-year-old went into the game level with Iran’s Ali Daei, who scored 109 goals for his country between 1993 and 2006. Manchester United’s latest acquisition had a golden chance to go ahead earlier in the piece but had a penalty saved by Gavin Bazunu before John Egan gave Ireland a surprise lead.
“I’m so happy, not only because I beat the record, but for the special moment that we had,” he told RTE. “Two goals at the end of the game. I have to appreciate what the team did, we believed until the end. I’m so glad.”
Along with this goal scoring milestone, Ronaldo also equalled Sergio Ramos’ European record for men’s caps - with his 180th Portugal appearance.
He is already the top scorer in club football’s top tournament, the European Cup/Champions League, a trophy he has won five times. The former Real Madrid and Juventus forward is also the top scorer in European Championship history (14) and in Euros and World Cups combined (21).
Almost half of Ronaldo’s goals have come in the final 30 minutes of games and he has has netted 33 times in the final 15 minutes - including twice against the Irish - and 22 times between the 61st and 75th minute.
Lithuania and Sweden - seven each - are the sides he has scored the most against. He had not scored against the Republic of Ireland before Wednesday’s game in the Algarve.
Portugal are top of Group A with 10 points while Ireland are yet to register a point, hacing lost all three of their matches so far.
In other selected results, France drew 1-1 with Bosnia and Hersegovina as Chelsea target Jules Kounde was sent off. Denmark were too good for Scotland in their 2-0 win as the Netherlands and Norway played out a 1-1 draw.