IRELAND supporters were up in arms last night after Cristiano Ronaldo got away with striking Irish defender Dara O'Shea before going on to net two goals in stoppage time to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
Portugal were awarded a penalty after just 10 minutes, and during the VAR check O'Shea cheekily poked the ball off the penalty spot just after Ronaldo had placed it down.
Angered, the Manchester United superstar lashed out and appeared to catch O'Shea in the face with his hand.
While the spot kick was saved by 19-year-old Manchester City keeper Gavin Bazunu, Ireland fans were rightly annoyed by the fact that the VAR team seemingly had no interest in investigating Ronaldo's 'slap', despite spending around three minutes checking the penalty decision.
"No penalty and Ronaldo should be sent off!! Var not even checking it either," one fan tweeted.
"Ronaldo threw his hand at O’Shea’s face. That penalty should be overturned and Ronaldo could easily be sent off. But obviously it’s Ronaldo so that won’t happen," said another.
The decision, inevitably, would come back to haunt Stephen Kenny's men.
— Darren Cleary (@RadioCleary) September 1, 2021
At the end of a promising first 45, John Egan gave Ireland the lead after leaping above Ronaldo to convert Jamie McGrath's corner.
20 years on from their famous win against the Dutch, Ireland summoned the spirit of Landsdowne Road in 2001 to produce an emphatic defensive performance, keeping the likes of Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes, Diogo Jota and Bernando Silva at bay.
Portugal kept knocking on the door, only for it to be slammed shut by the steely back three of Egan, Shane Duffy and a debuting Andrew Omobamidele, or the concrete palms of Bazunu.
But as the 90th minute loomed, the inevitability of Ronaldo pulled into view.
Forced into simply lumping the ball long, Portugal finally managed to slip through as Ronaldo leaped high to convert a Gonçalo Guedes cross to equalise.
Demoralised, Ireland tried to hang on, only for lightening to strike twice, as Ronaldo met an almost identical cross from Joao Mario to head home the soul-crushing winner.
It denied Kenny just his second win as Ireland boss, and left the Boys in Green joint-bottom of Group A alongside Azerbaijan, who they face on Saturday.