The Republic of Ireland battled to a 0-0 draw with 10-man Portugal, whose hopes of automatic qualification for next year’s World Cup now depend on a winner-take-all meeting with Serbia on Sunday.
Portugal, headed by Cristiano Ronaldo, dominated the opening exchanges, forcing Gavin Bazunu to save from Andre Silva and Seamus Coleman to block the Manchester United forward’s goal-bound attempt, but the hosts remained firm as the first half approached its halfway point.
Ronaldo squandered the game’s greatest chance midway through the second half, heading Andre Silva’s cross wide, before Portugal’s threat collapsed with the dismissal of Pepe for two second-half cards.
Meanwhile, Portugal has a one-goal advantage over Serbia in Group A, which they host in Lisbon on Sunday. for the chance to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar.