Republic of Ireland 1 Portugal 5: Cristiano Ronaldo return delights Paulo Bento ahead of World Cup

Ronaldo has been hampered by tendonosis in the build up to the World Cup but set-up a goal in the rout of the Irish in New Jersey

Portugal boss Paulo Bento was a happy man after seeing Cristiano Ronaldo safely negotiate his way through his return from injury ahead of the World Cup finals.

The Real Madrid forward played 66 minutes of his country's 5-1 friendly victory over the Republic of Ireland at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.

Ronaldo, who had missed the previous two warm-up games with tendinitis in his left knee and a thigh problem, did not find his way on to the scoresheet, but showed flashes of his brilliance, setting up one of striker Hugo Almeida's two goals and rattling the foot of the post with a first-half free-kick.

Bento said: "Yes, it was important that he played and we would not hide it.

"A player like Ronaldo is important for any team, and that's the case for us. It's good that he is back."

Ronaldo's contribution will put him in line for Portugal's opener against Germany in Salvador on June 16, when Bento will hope he has regained a little more of his customary sharpness.

However, he was content enough with what he saw against the Republic.

The manager said: "I think he had a good match alongside what we did collectively. Considering he has been without competitive football for a few weeks, I think he did well."

Ronaldo and his team-mates needed only two minutes to force their way in front, Almeida capitalising on an inch-perfect cross from impressive winger Varela to head firmly past keeper David Forde.

They doubled their lead with 20 minutes gone, although with the help of a slice of good fortune when Fabio Coentrao's cross clipped defender Richard Keogh and looped over Forde.

The Ireland keeper was beaten again eight minutes before the break when he could only block Ronaldo's header to Almeida, who duly obliged, and, although James McClean pulled one back for Martin O'Neill's men seven minutes before the break with his first senior goal for his country, hope of a fightback was short-lived.

Republic of Ireland 1 Portugal 5 match report

It was substitute Nani who re-imposed Portugal's superiority, first feeding fellow newcomer Vierinha to score from close range before setting up Coentrao to round things off seven minutes from time.

It proved a sobering evening for O'Neill and his players as their summer programme drew to a disappointing close.

The manager said: "I thought we started nervously, and that was something we wanted to try and avoid. Two of their goals came from our possession, which we gave away needlessly.

"Those are the things that over the course of the European championships you have to try and cut out. I thought we came to grips with it - we got the goal back and looked dangerous at times.

"We were still trying to chase it to get back to 3-2. When I finally sit down and analyse it, there should be things I am happy about and obviously things we need to improve."

O'Neill was not too concerned at the margin of defeat, insisting that, had his team shut up shop at 3-1, it was not have seemed too bad a result.

He said: "I feel it is not disheartening in the sense that it was 3-1 and if we shut up shop, it is 3-1 and it doesn't seem so bad.

"I am not too bothered. I have done this before at club level, trying to chase games and stay as positive as possible, and considering the changes that we made and some of our main players not playing, I don't think this will kill us off.

"It was as tough a game as we expected it to be. But it was also game that I wanted us to participate in because this it is what it is about: playing one of the best teams in the world heading to the World Cup.

"Portugal played well throughout the match and it was a stern test for us."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

Tribal gathering

Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously

Illnesses, car crashes and suicides

Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously
Srebrenica 20 years after the genocide: Why the survivors need closure

Bosnia's genocide, 20 years on

No-one is admitting where the bodies are buried - literally and metaphorically
How Comic-Con can make or break a movie: From Batman vs Superman to Star Wars: Episode VII

Power of the geek Gods

Each year at Comic-Con in San Diego, Hollywood bosses nervously present blockbusters to the hallowed crowd. It can make or break a movie
What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?

Perfect match

What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?
10 best trays

Get carried away with 10 best trays

Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
Wimbledon 2015: Team Murray firing on all cylinders for SW19 title assault

Team Murray firing on all cylinders for title assault

Coaches Amélie Mauresmo and Jonas Bjorkman aiming to make Scot Wimbledon champion again
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!
Ashes 2015: Angus Fraser's top 10 moments from previous series'

Angus Fraser's top 10 Ashes moments

He played in five series against Australia and covered more as a newspaper correspondent. From Waugh to Warne and Hick to Headley, here are his highlights
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high