Republic of Ireland midfielder Jeff Hendrick has issued a warning to Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of their World Cup qualifier clash. The Newcastle United star admitted Stephen Kenny's side were hurt after their last match with Portugal but is keen to put things right later tonight.
Fernando Santos' side registered a 2-1 victory over the Republic of Ireland when the two sides met in September. The Boys in Green held the lead until the 89th minute of the match. However, a quick-fire brace from Ronaldo saw Portugal turn things around and earn a 2-1 win.
Looking back at the Republic of Ireland's defeat to Portugal, midfielder Hendrick has admitted that the game hurt his team. The Newcastle star insisted that his side put in so much effort for most of the match only for Ronaldo to break their hearts.
Hendrick believes the Republic of Ireland kept the Manchester United star at bay for most of the game but were unable to stop him from scoring twice in quick succession. He said:
“We were hurt after the last game, the effort we put in. When you play a team like that, you know it’s going to be hard. We had a game-plan and it worked really, really well, up to the 88th minute. We’d kept Cristiano Ronaldo quiet for the whole game – that’s why he’s a top player. To have such a quiet game and score two goals is brilliant for him but that hurt us."
Despite the disappointment in the last game, Hendrick has warned Ronaldo and Portugal ahead of the Republic of Ireland's clash with them tonight. The midfielder said:
“We have to try and put out that same level of commitment and hard work. We didn’t do too much wrong out there, but we’ve worked hard on what we can improve from that performance.”
The Republic of Ireland will host Portugal in their penultimate World Cup qualifier group stage game today. Ronaldo will be looking to help Portugal extend their unbeaten run in the group to seven matches on the night.
Cristiano Ronaldo is in fine form for Portugal
Cristiano Ronaldo has had a tough time with Manchester United recently. The Red Devils have only one win in their last five Premier League outings and are currently sixth in the table.
However, Ronaldo has been in fine form for Portugal, having scored six goals from five matches in the World Cup qualifier group stage.
The Manchester United forward will look to add to his tally when he faces the Republic of Ireland later today.