Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

Portugal 4 - 2 Northern Ireland

Gareth McAuley rises to beat Ronaldo and score the equaliser score during the 2014 World Cup qualifier between Northern Ireland and Portugal at Windsor Park, Belfast. 6/9/2013 Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.
Gareth McAuley rises to beat Ronaldo and score the equaliser score during the 2014 World Cup qualifier between Northern Ireland and Portugal at Windsor Park, Belfast. 6/9/2013 Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.
Ronaldo scores his first during the 2014 World Cup qualifier between Northern Ireland and Portugal at Windsor Park, Belfast. 6/9/2013 Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.
Ronaldo scores his second during the 2014 World Cup qualifier between Northern Ireland and Portugal at Windsor Park, Belfast. 6/9/2013 Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.
Northern Ireland v Portugal World Cup qualifier hat-trick Hero Cristiano Ronaldo during the game at Windsor Park in Belfast. 6/9/2013 Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Ronaldo scores his second during the 2014 World Cup qualifier between Northern Ireland and Portugal at Windsor Park, Belfast. 6/9/2013 Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.
World Cup qualifier Northern Ireland v Portugal at Windsor Park. Northern Ireland's Jamie Ward celebrates Pic Darren Kidd/Presseye
World Cup qualifier Northern Ireland v Portugal at Windsor Park. Northern Ireland's Jamie Ward celebrates Pic Darren Kidd/Presseye
World Cup qualifier Northern Ireland v Portugal at Windsor Park. Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley as Jamie Ward scores
World Cup qualifier Northern Ireland v Portugal at Windsor Park
Northern Ireland's manager Michael O'Neill and Portugal's Paulo Bento after Northern Ireland had equalised during the game in Belfast 6/9/2013 Photo David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland v Portugal World Cup qualifier Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley scores during the game at Windsor Park in Belfast 6/9/2013 Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Gareth McAuley rises to beat Ronaldo and score the equaliser during the 2014 World Cup qualifier between Northern Ireland and Portugal at Windsor Park, Belfast. 6/9/2013 Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.
Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley beats the Portugal defence to score during the World Cup Qualifying, Group F match at Windsor Park, Belfast. Pic Paul Faith/PA
Gareth McAuley rises to beat Ronaldo and score the equaliser scores during the 2014 World Cup qualifier between Northern Ireland and Portugal at Windsor Park, Belfast. 6/9/2013 Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker
Northern Ireland v Portugal World Cup qualifier. Northern Ireland's Steve Davis and Portugal's Vieirinha during the game at Windsor Park in Belfast. 6/9/2013 Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Gareth McAuley rises to beat Ronaldo and score the equaliser scores during the 2014 World Cup qualifier between Northern Ireland and Portugal at Windsor Park, Belfast. 6/9/2013 Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.
Gareth McAuley rises to beat Ronaldo and score the equaliser scores during the 2014 World Cup qualifier between Northern Ireland and Portugal at Windsor Park, Belfast. 6/9/2013 Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.
Gareth McAuley rises to beat Ronaldo and score the equaliser scores during the 2014 World Cup qualifier between Northern Ireland and Portugal at Windsor Park, Belfast. 6/9/2013 Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.
Gareth McAuley rises to beat Ronaldo and score the equaliser scores during the 2014 World Cup qualifier between Northern Ireland and Portugal at Windsor Park, Belfast. 6/9/2013 Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.
Gareth McAuley rises to beat Ronaldo and score the equaliser scores during the 2014 World Cup qualifier between Northern Ireland and Portugal at Windsor Park, Belfast. 6/9/2013 Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.
World Cup qualifier Northern Ireland v Portugal at Windsor Park
World Cup qualifier Northern Ireland v Portugal at Windsor Park
World Cup qualifier Northern Ireland v Portugal at Windsor Park
World Cup qualifier Northern Ireland v Portugal at Windsor Park
World Cup qualifier Northern Ireland v Portugal at Windsor Park
Northern Ireland v Portugal World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park. Northern Ireland's Lee Hodson and Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo during Friday's game in Belfast. 6/9/2013 Photo David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Martin Paterson and Pepe during Friday's 2014 World Cup qualifier between Northern Ireland and Portugal at Windsor Park, Belfast. 6/9/2013 Pic Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker
Northern Ireland's Lee Hodson and Portugal's Fabio Coentrao during the game in Belfast. 6/9/2013 Pic David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

Northern Ireland have lost against Portugal at Windsor Park after the home side's lead was decimated by a Ronaldo hat-trick leading to a 4 - 2 defeat.

Helder Postiga's red card left Northern Ireland with a big chance to take another major scalp as Portugal reached half-time at Windsor Park with the scores level and a numerical disadvantage.

Portugal went into the Group F World Cup qualifier as heavy favourites despite Russia's shock defeat in Belfast last month and all seemed rosy when Bruno Alves put the visitors in front after 21 minutes.

But West Brom defender Gareth McAuley pulled his side level with a fine header and was the victim as Postiga aimed an apparent headbutt his way to be sent off in the 43rd minute.

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