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Irish pundit raves about Tottenham star Matt Doherty, despite late Cristiano Ronaldo brace

Matt Doherty and Ireland came within an inch of beating Portugal on Wednesday – and Damien Delaney has raved about the Tottenham star.

Doherty, 29, played on the left of midfield on Wednesday night in the Algarve – wearing the no.7 shirt for his country. But he was excellent.

In what was Ireland’s third 2022 World Cup qualifier, Doherty and Ireland really needed a result away from home. They came close to getting it.

Sheffield United defender John Egan rose highest to head Ireland into the lead on 45 minutes. But Cristiano Ronaldo was having none of it.

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Although the new Manchester United man missed a pen, he nabbed a late brace to win 2-1. Doherty was applauded by Delaney after the match.

“[Gavin] Bazunu had a great game but Matt Doherty was man of the match by a country mile for me,” Delaney told Virgin Media Sport.

“Incredible in his travelling with the ball, interceptions. By far his best game for Ireland, and one of the best games I’ve seen Matt Doherty play.

“He and Seamus Coleman executed the manager’s plan to perfection, brilliant,” Delaney added, on the £65k-a-week (Spotrac) ace.

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Delaney on Doherty: Tottenham star gives Nuno food for thought

It was a brilliant performance from Doherty. Tireless running, composure when in possession and offering a defensive blanket on the left flank.

While the night will be remembered for Ronaldo’s incredible late brace and breaking the all-time international goalscoring record, Doherty was superb.

Bazunu deserves praise for saving Ronaldo’s first-half penalty, a brilliant stop. But Doherty will have given Nuno Espirito Santo food for thought.

Linked with a deadline-day exit after the signing of Emerson Royal, Doherty’s versatility might just tempt Nuno to keep giving him a chance.

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