Sloppy Ireland punished by Portugal
Whilst most players are enjoying their last few days of the summer break before pre-season gets underway, there has been no rest for Lions keeper David Forde who has been away on international duty with the Republic of Ireland.
Martin O’Neill was left to rue some sloppy defending as the Republic of Ireland fell to a 5-1 defeat to Portugal in New Jersey.
Portuguese captain Cristiano Ronaldo, who had missed the earlier warm-up games against Greece and Mexico through a combination of knee and thigh injuries, started at the MetLife Stadium and played a leading role as his side raced into a 3-0 lead.
Ronaldo had a hand in the third goal, having earlier hit the post with a free-kick, and showed few signs of being hampered by any fitness concerns.
However, it was striker Hugo Almeida who took centre-stage, heading Portugal into a second-minute lead and, after Richard Keogh's own goal had put them further ahead, claiming a second eight minutes before the interval.
James McClean's first strike for his country on his 23rd senior appearance gave the Republic hope seven minutes after the break, but substitute Vierinha struck 12 minutes from time and Fabio Coentrao added a fifth as newcomer Nani produced a superb late cameo performance.
While Portugal boss Paulo Bento included his highest-profile player for obvious reasons, opposite number O'Neill left his sitting on the bench having hinted that he might in his pre-match press conference when he said he knew all he needed to about Robbie Keane.
Eight days short of 20 years since Ireland famously defeated Italy 1-0 in the World Cup finals at the old Giants Stadium, a team which included only a handful of regular starters ran out hoping to spring a similar surprise, if in different circumstances.
However, the game was over as a contest long before the half-time whistle as the Portuguese flexed their muscle in impressive style.
They needed barely two minutes to get their noses in front when winger Varela, in what was to become something of a theme, found himself in space down the right and delivered the perfect cross for unmarked striker Almeida to head firmly past goalkeeper David Forde.
Ronaldo had already served notice of his intent with a deft turn which took him away from Jeff Hendrick and David Meyler on halfway, although his scuffed shot had an element of rust about it.
But he tested Forde further with a left-footed drive 13 minutes later, and the Millwall keeper reacted superbly to deny Raul Meireles from the follow-up.
But Portugal were cruising with playmaker William orchestrating from the middle of the field and Varela terrorising on the right as Ronaldo floated menacingly ahead of them.