Ireland U21 defeat Portugal to claim Madeira title

Republic of Ireland Under-21s captured the Madeira Invitational Tournament for the second time in two years with a deserved 2-1 victory over Portugal in Machico.

Stephen Grant of Waterford United and Stephen Ward of Bohemians scored first-half goals to seal the win, Ward finishing top scorer in the competition with his second goal of the week.

Grant opened the scoring in the third minute when he was put through by Ward and slipped the ball between goalkeeper Ricardo Batista's legs.

Ward made it 2-0 in the 43rd minute when he was released by Arsenal teenager Anthony Stokes and raced on beat Batista with a calm finish.

Stokes was unfortunate not to kill the game off with an amazing effort in the 52nd minute when his thunderous shot from inside his own half forced Batista to make a frantic retreat to palm the ball over the bar.

Portugal pulled one back in the 88th minute when defender Miguel Veloso curled home a free-kick from the edge of the box, but the Irish held on for an impressive victory.

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