Former Manchester City shot-stopper Shay Given has congratulated goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu on producing an excellent penalty save to thwart Cristiano Ronaldo whilst on international duty for the Republic of Ireland.
Bazunu, currently on loan at League One side Portsmouth, produced a moment to remember just 15 minutes into Ireland’s clash with Portugal in a 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier in the Algarve on Wednesday evening.
Bazunu dived to his right to deny the new Manchester United recruit from breaking the international goal scoring record. As well as that, his save looked as though it would be the catalyst that would inspire Ireland to secure one of their most famous results in their recent history.
After the 19-year-old, who joined City in 2018 from Shamrock Rovers, had denied Ronaldo, Ireland took the lead just before half-time through John Egan and looked poised to register a shock victory until Ronaldo had other ideas. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner equalised in the 89th minute, before turning the game on its head with a second goal deep into stoppage-time.
Whilst it was a heartbreaking result for Ireland to have to stomach, Bazunu’s heroics to deny Ronaldo is a moment that he will never forget.
And he has since been sent a message of congratulations by former City and Ireland shot-stopper Given, who replied to Bazunu’s Instagram post reflecting on the result.
Given said: “Great game Gavin.”
Although the result was a hard one to take for Ireland given the nature that they conceded twice so late on, Bazunu reflected on denying Ronaldo from 12 yards.
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Speaking after the game, the City youngster said: “The first emotion was just disappointment at giving it away, it was my fault for the penalty, but I just tried to stay calm. There was a lot of time between the penalty being awarded and being taken so I just tried to stay relaxed and trust my gut.
“I wasn’t thinking about that [going up against Ronaldo] too much, I was just focusing on – from the clips I had watched – what he was going to do and just stick to the side I was going to.”