World Cup: Cristiano Ronaldo makes his return as Portugal smash Ireland 5-1 in final tune-up
Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t score on his return to the field for Portugal on Tuesday evening, but the team certainly didn't miss his goals.
A Selecção – who face the United States on June 20 in the World Cup – smashed the Republic of Ireland, 5-1, in their final tune-up match prior to the World Cup, with Ronaldo in the lineup from the starting whistle after a much-scrutinized bout of tendinosis in his knee.
His best moment on the evening at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., came in the 20th minute, with Portugal already up 1-0 through a third-minute Hugo Almeida strike. The reigning World Player of the Year executed a slick no-look pass that sent Fábio Coentrão through down the left flank, and his cross deflected off an Ireland defender for an own-goal.
Ronaldo also saw an earlier free kick rattle the frame, and was again involved in the scoring when he saw his towering back post header in the 37th minute denied by Ireland goalkeeper David Forde, only for Almeida to clean up for his second of the game.
The 29-year-old Ronaldo finally left the game in the 65th minute, with another Portugal injury concern – center back Pepe – coming on in part of a quadruple switch by Portugal manager Paulo Bento.
Portugal added two goals late on through Vieirinha and Coentrão. Ireland's lone goal of the game came in the 52nd minute when they caught the opposition sleeping with a quickly taken set piece, allowing James McClean to set himself up and finish.
LA Galaxy striker Robbie Keane featured as a substitute for the Irish, coming on as a 63rd-minute substitute and showing some bright spots on an otherwise forgettable night for Ireland.
Portugal will now head to Brazil, where they open the tournmanent on June 16 against Germany, with the US taking on Ghana the same day. Following the US game on June 20, they will face Germany on June 25 in their group-stage finale.