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Ronaldo breaks world record and Ireland’s hearts as Portugal seal late, late win

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Portugal 2 Republic of Ireland 1

At the death, Cristiano Ronaldo snatched a draw and then victory from an Irish effort that almost went beyond heroism. How they lift themselves for Azerbaijan and Serbia next week at the Aviva is unfathomable.

Stephen Kenny must feel truly cursed. At least the fans are returning with them.

One sure way for this Irish generation to erase the shame of losing at home to Luxembourg was to beat Portugal on the Algarve. With 88 minutes on the clock, Ronaldo put paid to that dreamy notion with a downward header that gave him a world record 110th goal.

The 111th was another header as he proved at 36, Manchester United are still getting the true special one.

The only place to begin is John Egan’s headed goal entering a clump of first-half injury time caused by all the mayhem before Ronaldo’s missed penalty.

Jamie McGrath, on his competitive debut, spun a corner to the front post that Egan expertly guided to the net after the Sheffield United centre half beat Ronaldo to the punch. Perhaps Pepe and the other Portuguese heavies were preoccupied by the presence of human lighthouse Shane Duffy.

Truth be told, one-nil to Ireland really could have been 3-0 or 4-0 to Portugal at the turn if Diogo Jota had taken any one of three glorious chances. Or Ronaldo’s spot kick was not brilliantly saved by Gavin Bazunu.

John Egan heads the Republic of Ireland into the lead during the World Cup qualifier at Estadio Algarve in Almancil. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
John Egan heads the Republic of Ireland into the lead during the World Cup qualifier at Estadio Algarve in Almancil. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Kenny’s squad have been disrespected at every turn. They freely admit the results have been shockingly poor since the Dubliner unceremoniously replaced Mick McCarthy in April 2020, but coronavirus has stubbornly refused to leave them alone.

News broke that Shane Long had tested positive seconds before the team was released with two goalkeepers on the bench and, mysteriously, no Nathan Collins or Ronan Curtis.

A solitary Irish flag yelled “WE ARE BALLYBRACK – be not afraid” behind the Portugal goal. Ballybrack Seagulls FC were, somehow, in a stadium that had banned Irish fans.

Pre-match, in a sign of the times, both teams played five against six in narrow confines. The Irish were engaged in an impressive two-touch affair. That is, until glancing at one-touch magicians Ronaldo and Pepe – combined age 74 – keeping the ball away from some of the most skilled technicians on the planet.

Ireland were determined to play football but this meant that Portugal could manipulate them and isolate the teenage goalkeeper.

Bazunu, on loan to Portsmouth from Manchester City, is an impressive distributor in the third tier of English football but Jota pressed him into a weak pass to no one before disaster struck.

There was 9:36 on the clock when Jeff Hendrick cut down Bruno Fernandes, following Bazunu’s second brain freeze under pressure, but the clock neared 15 minutes when Ronaldo did a decent impression of Marcus Rashford’s run up in the Euros final.

Bazunu dived to his right to deny the Portuguese captain but there is a strong argument to suggest Ronaldo should have been sent off in disgrace.

When Slovenian referee Matej Jug took Hendrick to one side to show him a yellow card, Dara O’Shea collapsed to earth clutching his face.

Ireland goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu is congratulated by team-mates after saving Cristiano Ronaldo’s penalty kick during the World Cup qualifier. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
Ireland goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu is congratulated by team-mates after saving Cristiano Ronaldo’s penalty kick during the World Cup qualifier. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Séamus Coleman was insisting that VAR prove that the Newcastle United midfielder got a piece of the ball before slicing into Fernandes. VAR disagreed but, back on the penalty spot, O’Shea toe poked the ball off the chalk. So Ronaldo slapped him in the face. O’Shea glanced around for an official before falling to ground as all the players came together. Coleman was in the thick of it. Ronaldo avoided sanction.

There was another debate before this crazy scene could end with Jug considering whether Bazunu moved before the strike but Coleman’s eyeballing ended that idea. The skipper also cleared the corner.

A real bite was evident from then on, with Egan putting himself about, particularly in his battle with Rafa Silva, as he had the game of his life.

The son of Kerry GAA royalty had to be a colossus as O’Shea appeared to suffer a bad injury when belting Jota on the half-hour. Another teenager, Andrew Omobamidele, made a solid Ireland debut before his Premier League bow for Norwich City.

Aaron Connolly’s energy and clever runs asked the right questions of Pepe’s ageing legs, even if his shooting and final touch were poor. The Galway man had a real chance just before half-time but he held possession a split-second too long and an attempted scoop over Rui Patrício was blocked for the corner that led to Egan’s goal.

Portugal’s rapid link play seemed destined to break Ireland’s steely resolve. Jota had some glorious chances to score but a header hit the post, while in first-half injury-time Bazunu spilled the Liverpool striker’s low shot before reclaiming the ball a millimetre before it rolled over the line.

The heroics had to keep coming for most of the second half with Duffy flinging his body into Raphaël Guerreiro’s rasping shot.

Remarkably, Egan appeared in Portugal’s box near the hour mark to nod down Adam Idah’s cross for Connolly to miss the target.

Bernardo Silva will forever wonder how he skied an open shot on 74 minutes as a jaded Irish defence somehow clung to the lead.

Ronaldo, though, never lets tired legs off the hook.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Bazunu (Portsmouth); Coleman (Everton, capt), Egan (Sheffield United), Duffy (Brighton and Hove Albion), O’Shea (West Bromwich Albion), Doherty (Tottenham Hotspur); Hendrick (Newcastle United), Cullen (Anderlecht), McGrath (St Mirren); Connolly (Brighton), Idah (Norwich City).

Subs: Omobamidele (Norwich City) for O’Shea (35 mins), McClean (Wigan Athletic) for Connolly (72 mins), J Collins (Cardiff City) for Idah, Molumby (West Brom) for McGrath (both 90 mins).

PORTUGAL: Patrício (Roma); Cancelo (Manchester City), Pepe (Porto), Dias (Manchester City), Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund); Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Palhinha (Sporting), Fernandes (Manchester United); Ronaldo (Manchester United, capt), Jota (Liverpool), Rafa Silva (Benfica) .

Subs: Andre Silva (RB Leipzig) for Rafa Silva (half-time), Mendes (PSG) for Guerreiro (62), Joao Mario (Benfica) for B Fernandes (both 62 mins), João Moutinho (Wolves) for Palhinha (73), Gonçalo Guedes (Valencia) for Cancelo (82).

Referee: Matej Jug (Slovenia).

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How much it costs to buy near new Nine Elms and Battersea tube stations

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Two new Underground stations opened this week – Nine Elms and Battersea Power Station.

But while the areas feature lots of new housing for London, people looking to move to there and jump on the Tube’s extended Northern Line will pay a hefty price tag.

The average price of a house in Nine Elms is £726,131, according to Zoopla, but they have got cheaper. This is a drop of more than 6 per cent on a year ago, the equivalent of £50,000. 

But that average price doubles to £1,501,091 once you narrow a buyer’s search area from the wider Nine Elms area to just the Nine Elms development site, which is the new housing just south of the River Thames. 

And there’s the opportunity to spend much more – among the three homes we found below in the location was a flat in Battersea Power Station for £16million.

A luxury penthouse high up on the eleventh and twelfth floors of Battersea Power Station is for sale for £16million with estate agent Copperstones - see more details below

A luxury penthouse high up on the eleventh and twelfth floors of Battersea Power Station is for sale for £16million with estate agent Copperstones – see more details below

Two new Underground stations have opened this week: One at Nine Elms and the other at Battersea Power Station

Two new Underground stations have opened this week: One at Nine Elms and the other at Battersea Power Station

Buyers looking at the Nine Elms development will need a typical budget of £1.5m, according to property website Zoopla

Buyers looking at the Nine Elms development will need a typical budget of £1.5m, according to property website Zoopla

Billions of pounds of investment have been pumped into the area in recent years, including through the redevelopment of Battersea Power Station.

The decommissioned coal-fired power station is now luxury flats and penthouses – while there has also been the building of a new US Embassy in Nine Elms.

Despite the recent falls in average house prices near the stations, property experts suggest that values will rise, at least in the surrounding areas.

Billions of pounds of investment have been pumped into the Nine Elms area in recent years, including through the redevelopment of Battersea Power Station

Billions of pounds of investment have been pumped into the Nine Elms area in recent years, including through the redevelopment of Battersea Power Station

Buying agent Henry Pryor said: ‘While some might expect the new stations to be full of people fleeing the Nightmare on Nine Elms Street, these new infrastructure nodes are really going to give the area a genuine lift.

‘Lower Chelsea and the area around Battersea Park may well see prices bumped up by as much as 10 per cent, even if many buyers in SW11 thought that they were high enough.’

We take a look at three properties for sale at Battersea Power Station and Nine Elms 

1. Two-bed flat, Battersea Power Station, £1.15m

This luxury flat is close to the Battersea Power Station Underground station, which opened this week in London

This luxury flat is close to the Battersea Power Station Underground station, which opened this week in London

The modern property is on the market for £1.15million and is being sold via estate agents Martin & Co

The modern property is on the market for £1.15million and is being sold via estate agents Martin & Co

Inside, there is an open-plan living area with a fully-fitted kitchen, while outside there is a covered and tiled private balcony

Inside, there is an open-plan living area with a fully-fitted kitchen, while outside there is a covered and tiled private balcony

There are two bedrooms, including the main one boasting an en-suite shower room and room for a baby's cot

There are two bedrooms, including the main one boasting an en-suite shower room and room for a baby’s cot

There is also a smaller balcony at the rear of the flat that overlooks the railway tracks that carries commuters in and out of central London

There is also a smaller balcony at the rear of the flat that overlooks the railway tracks that carries commuters in and out of central London

This luxury two-bedroom flat is in the redeveloped Battersea Power Station and has an asking price of £1.15m.

It has an open-plan living area with a fully-fitted kitchen and a large private balcony.

Residents have access to a library, private cinema, communal gardens, a gym, swimming pool and a concierge service. The flat is being sold via estate agents Martin & Co.

2. Six-bed penthouse, Battersea Power Station, £16m

The modern interiors include designer crittall-style doors and walls, which are made from many panes of glass

The modern interiors include designer crittall-style doors and walls, which are made from many panes of glass

The property has six bedrooms, seven bathrooms - including this one with a cooper bath -, a roof terrace and two parking spaces

The property has six bedrooms, seven bathrooms – including this one with a cooper bath -, a roof terrace and two parking spaces

The penthouse boasts far-reaching views from the private balcony across the River Thames and towards the city

The penthouse boasts far-reaching views from the private balcony across the River Thames and towards the city

The London penthouse has a hefty price tag and is being sold via estate agents Copperstones for £16million

The London penthouse has a hefty price tag and is being sold via estate agents Copperstones for £16million

This luxury penthouse is on the eleventh and twelfth floors of Battersea Power Station, with views across the River Thames and the capital.

It has six bedrooms, seven bathrooms, a roof terrace and two parking spaces.

You’ll need deep pockets to buy it due to its £16million price tag. It is being sold by estate agents Copperstones.

3. Three-bedroom flat, Nine Elms, £3.95m

The three-bedroom flat is in the Ambassador Building in Nine Elms and has a light interior with walnut parquet flooring

The three-bedroom flat is in the Ambassador Building in Nine Elms and has a light interior with walnut parquet flooring

The luxury home has floor to ceiling windows and is being sold via estate agents Johns & Co with an asking price of £3.95m

The luxury home has floor to ceiling windows and is being sold via estate agents Johns & Co with an asking price of £3.95m 

The famous Sky Pool floats 10 storeys up between two skyscrapers at the Embassy Gardens development in London

The famous Sky Pool floats 10 storeys up between two skyscrapers at the Embassy Gardens development in London

This flat is in the Ambassador Building in Nine Elms at the Embassy Gardens development – home to the Sky Pool.

It is three bedrooms, walnut parquet flooring, marble work surfaces and floor to ceiling windows.

It has an asking price of £3.95m and is being sold via estate agents Johns & Co.

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What to expect in Budget 2022? Small tax cuts and modest welfare increases

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Public spending may have rocketed over the past 20 months due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic but it appears that tax cuts and welfare increases will be on the table nonetheless when the Government sets out its budget on October 12th.

As Tánaiste Leo Varadkar recently said, there will be tax measures aimed at “middle-income people in particular”, as well as a welfare package to offset the impact of the rising cost of living.

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Asking price on average British home hits a record high of £338,462

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The average price tag on British homes has hit a record high of £338,462 as the competition heats up among ‘power buyers’, according to new figures.    

Average asking prices for homes increased by 0.3 per cent, or £1,091, month-on-month in September, according to figures from Rightmove. 

Wales, South West England, the East Midlands, the East of England and the South East – are experiencing annual asking price growth of more than 8 per cent.

Fierce competition continues among buyers for the low number of properties for sale.

Average asking prices for homes increased by 0.3 per cent, or £1,091, month-on-month in September, according to figures from Rightmove. Pictured: A house on sale for £340,000 in Brighton

Average asking prices for homes increased by 0.3 per cent, or £1,091, month-on-month in September, according to figures from Rightmove. Pictured: A house on sale for £340,000 in Brighton 

Rightmove added that buyers who are ready to move – including those who have already sold their own home, have cash in the bank, or are first-time buyers with a mortgage agreed – are ‘out-muscling’ those who still need to sell their home in order to buy. 

The frenzied market activity has helped to push up the average asking price of a newly-listed property to a new record for the fourth consecutive month, according to Rightmove.

The average asking price has climbed £21,389 higher in just six months to £338,447, according to the property listing website’s index.

Rightmove’s Tim Bannister said: ‘We predict that the number of completed sales will be the highest ever seen in a single month when June’s data is released by HMRC.

‘This means it’s likely that the first half of 2021 has seen a record number of moves when compared with the first six months of any other year, induced by the pandemic’s side-effect of a new focus on what a home needs to provide.’

Frenzied activity has helped to push up average property asking prices, says Rightmove

Frenzied activity has helped to push up average property asking prices, says Rightmove

It comes as it was revealed earlier this month that the prices houses are actually selling for are now 13 per cent higher than before the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The figures come in contrast to predictions from agents, who thought the end to the Covid-19 stamp duty holiday would see demand for properties dramatically fall and take heat out of the housing market.  

The Government’s stamp duty holiday, introduced when the pandemic hit last year, fuelled a rapid rise in house prices, but the stamp duty band was halved from £500,000 to £250,000 from July, and will revert to £125,000 from September 30.

Rightmove said that in the month to mid-July, asking prices rose 0.7 per cent – the equivalent of £2,374 and the largest monthly rise at this time of year since July 2007, at the peak of the boom just before the financial crisis.

The price data is based on Rightmove’s asking prices, while the data on the number of sales is a prediction of what the next HMRC transactions will show, based on Rightmove data that looks at properties being marked ‘under offer’ or ‘sold subject to contract’.

Rightmove attributed the increase to a lack of supply of homes for sale and identified a shortfall of 225,000 homes for sale which, if available, would have helped to maintain a more normal level of property stock for sale and stabilise prices.

This stark shortfall, along with frenzied buyer activity, is fuelling record high prices and leading to record lows in available stock for sale.  

The high levels of activity have continued, according to Rightmove, despite the end of the stamp duty holiday.

The stamp duty holiday, which ended on 30 June, saw no tax on the first £500,000 of a property purchase price replaced by none on the first £250,000 until the end of September. Stamp duty is due to return in full after that.

Rightmove said there is an ‘urgent need’ for low stocks of property for sale to be rebuilt so that stability in prices can return.

Rightmove said that the average value of a home in Britain currently stands at £338,462

Rightmove said that the average value of a home in Britain currently stands at £338,462

Mr Bannister said: ‘First-time buyers are currently benefitting from their sector having the most buyer-friendly conditions. Choice is still more limited when compared to the same period in 2019, but price rises are the most subdued of any sector.

‘Saving a deposit is still very hard, but 5 per cent is now an option, and with many paying rising rents, buying your own home on a lower deposit is becoming an opportunity again. The opportunity is also there for property owners to come to market, as it’s still a great sellers’ market despite the recent end of the tax holiday in Wales and its scaling back in England.

‘We’ve also seen a much more efficient housing market over the past year, with the strong buyer demand and faster churn of homes leading to a much higher percentage of sellers finding a buyer for their home, and fewer unsold homes being withdrawn from the market.

‘Buyer sentiment remains strong, and the growth in new households combined with people living longer and having changed housing needs is exacerbating long-term housing stock shortages.’

Rob Sabin, of estate agents Miles & Barr, said: ‘East Kent’s property market continues to be very active during the first six months of 2021 with buyers continuing to purchase the limited housing stock available.

Wales, South West England, the East Midlands, the East of England and the South East - are experiencing annual asking price growth of more than 8 per cent. Pictured: A house on sale for £340,000 in Bristol

Wales, South West England, the East Midlands, the East of England and the South East – are experiencing annual asking price growth of more than 8 per cent. Pictured: A house on sale for £340,000 in Bristol

‘The number of sellers coming to market has slowed as the year has progressed, which means we’ve seen the level of new listings coming to the market significantly decrease year on year, while in turn total available stock levels across the market is at the lowest we have seen in a number of years.

‘While the number of new listings has dropped, our results remained strong with 945 homes listed accepting an offer. East Kent has also seen the number of buyers looking to relocate to either the countryside or by the coast increase with a fifth of applicants registered coming from Greater London.’

Marc von Grundherr, of estate agents Benham and Reeves, said: ‘The UK property market continues to defy expectation, with house prices reaching yet another record high despite whispers of a decline in values as a result of the tapered stamp duty holiday deadline.

‘There’s no doubt the stamp duty holiday has been the catalyst for this impressive market performance. However, it isn’t the driving factor behind the intent to purchase for UK homebuyers and so a robust level of activity will remain long after it has expired. 

‘When you couple heightened demand with a severe shortage of stock, it’s very likely that property values will remain buoyant for the remainder of the year 2021 buyer frenzy reveals 225,000 shortfall in number of homes for sale.’ 

But property price growth has still seen a ‘surprising’ increase in August, with Nationwide Building Society figures placing it at 11 per cent higher than one year earlier. 

However, ONS figures released five days ago suggest the average UK house price dropped £10,000 in July.

The typical home was worth £255,535 in July, according to the Land Registry-based index – around £19,000 higher than a year earlier but significantly below the £265,448 peak in June.  

This translated to annual house price inflation slowing to 8 per cent in July, from 13.1 per cent the previous month.

In a reversal of fortune for the property market compared to the recent past, the North East is the UK’s hottest property market in terms of average price rises, with homes up almost 11 per cent in a year, while London is seeing the lowest gains at 2 per cent, ONS figures show. 

Rightmove added that buyers who are ready to move - including those who have already sold their own home, have cash in the bank, or are first-time buyers with a mortgage agreed - are 'out-muscling' those who still need to sell their home in order to buy. Pictured: A house on sale for £340,000 in Norfolk

Rightmove added that buyers who are ready to move – including those who have already sold their own home, have cash in the bank, or are first-time buyers with a mortgage agreed – are ‘out-muscling’ those who still need to sell their home in order to buy. Pictured: A house on sale for £340,000 in Norfolk 

Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property data, said: ‘Competition among potential buyers to secure their next home is now more than double what it was this time in 2019.

‘To be in pole position in the race for the best property you need to have greater buying power than the rest of the field.

‘That traditionally would mean deeper pockets to outbid other buyers, but in the most competitive market ever, today’s ‘power buyers’ also need to have already found a buyer for their own property, or to have no need to sell at all.

‘Agents report that buyers who have yet to sell are being out-muscled by buyers who have already sold subject to contract.

Pictured: A house on sale for £340,000 on Washington Road in Leicester

Pictured: A house on sale for £340,000 on Washington Road in Leicester 

‘Proof that you are mortgage-ready or can splash the cash without needing a mortgage will also help you to get the pick of the housing crop.’

But there are signs of a re-balancing in the housing market. In the first two weeks of September, the number of new listings was up by 14% compared with the last two weeks of August.

Rightmove said a wider choice of properties should also encourage more homeowners to come to market as the number of potential onward purchases grows.

Mr Bannister continued: ‘This 14% increase in the number of new sellers coming to market in the first half of September is only an early snapshot, but autumn is traditionally a busy period, as those owners who have hesitated thus far during the year see the few months before Christmas as an opportunity to belatedly get their moving plans under way.’ 

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