Football

Stephen Kenny Has Named His Ireland Team To Take On Portugal

Stephen Kenny Has Named His Ireland Team To Take On Portugal

Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny has named his Republic of Ireland side to take on Portugal at the Aviva Stadium this evening, hoping to build on the momentum gained during last month's international break.

The starting XI is largely as expected, with the team seemingly retaining the 3-4-2-1 system that contributed to their recent uptick in form.

Ireland team to face Portugal

Gavin Bazunu regains his place in goal after Caoimhín Kelleher started against Qatar last time out, while Seamus Coleman will start alongside Shane Duffy and John Egan in the back three. Andrew Omobamidele misses out due to injury.

Matt Doherty and Enda Stevens will fill the wingback roles, with Josh Cullen and Jeff Hendrick selected in midfield. Callum Robinson will start up front, with Chiedozie Ogbene and Jamie McGrath tucking in behind. It will be Ogbene's first competitive start for his country.

The uncapped Will Keane has been included on the bench.

Here is the team in full.

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Ireland put in a strong performance against this opponent back in September, only for two late goals from Cristiano Ronaldo to deny them a famous result in Faro.

The visitors are on course to top the group and will qualify for next year's tournament in Qatar if they avoid defeat in each of their last two qualification fixtures.

Stephen Kenny's side do not have the same tangible goal to aim towards, although this will be seen as a massive fixture. Not only will this be the manager's first game in charge of a sold out home crowd, but it will also be used as a yard stick to test the progress made against lesser opposition during last month's international window.

The selection of Ogbene is a surprising one, but the player has impressed during his limited opportunities for the team thus far.

The vast majority of the 50,000 supporters in the stadium this evening will be hoping for another big performance.

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Gary Connaughton

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