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'He could easily have been sent off' - Cristiano Ronaldo in the spotlight over 'strike' against Ireland

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Referee Matej Jug talks to Republic of Ireland's Seamus Coleman and Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo. REUTERS/Pedro Nunes

Referee Matej Jug talks to Republic of Ireland's Seamus Coleman and Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo. REUTERS/Pedro Nunes

Referee Matej Jug talks to Republic of Ireland's Seamus Coleman and Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo. REUTERS/Pedro Nunes

Cristiano Ronaldo was fortunate not to be sent off in the first half of Ireland's World Cup qualifier against Portugal.

A John Egan header gave Ireland a half-time lead in the Algarve, but there was a controversial moment early in the game after a penalty was awarded to the home side following a foul by Jeff Hendrick on Bruno Fernandes.

While Ireland goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu pulled off a brilliant save to deny Ronaldo a record-breaking goal, footage showed the Man United striker throw an arm out towards Ireland defender Dara O'Shea.

No action was taken by the referee and VAR didn't check the incident but speaking on RTÉ at half time, Liam Brady said that Ronaldo could 'easily' have been sent off.

"He definitely strikes O'Shea," Brady said.

"If the referee sees it or if VAR tells him to have a look at it, he could very easily have been sent off. But he is Ronaldo and I suppose there's an element of 'is he too big to send off?'"

Ronaldo went on to score two late goals to snatch three points for Portugal, breaking the record for international goals in the process, but there were serious questions as to whether he should even have been on the field.

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