Live Commentary: Portugal 1-1 Northern Ireland - as it happened

Cristiano Ronaldo
© PA Photos
Live commentary of the World Cup qualifier between Portugal and Northern Ireland at the Estadio Do Drago.

Good evening and welcome to Sports Mole's live text commentary of the Group F fixture between Portugal and Northern Ireland in Porto.

The focus has been on Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of the match, with the Real Madrid forward ready to win his 100th cap inside the Estadio Do Drago.

Northern Ireland have collected just one point from their opening two games and Michael O'Neill's men face a tough test against Portugal, who currently occupy third spot in the FIFA rankings.

Please note that kickoff is at 8.45pm.


FTSo, Northern Ireland head home with a famous point. Thanks for joining me for tonight's coverage.

FTOn the night Ronaldo received his 100th cap, Portugal have slumped to a second disappointing result in a week. A loss to Russia and this draw with the Irish releases their grip on Group F.

FTThe visitors could have won the match but a draw is more than anyone expected from their visit to Porto.

FTFull-time: There has been some shocks in Europe tonight and this has to be up there. Michael O'Neill's side hold on to claim a famous draw against a team ranked third in the world by FIFA.

95 minsNorthern Ireland break but a close offside call prevents Evans from progressing into the Portugal box.

94 minsLike missiles, crosses continue to fly into the Northern Ireland penalty area but Cathcart and then Evans beat their opponents to clear the danger.

92 minsWow! Varela's cross is deflected by Evans and Eder is so close to scoring from two yards but he can;t find the crucial touch.

90 minsIt's not what Northern Ireland wanted to see. Five minutes stoppage time will be played.

89 minsCathcart gives the ball away and Nani takes advantage to begin an attack but his long range strike is safely over Carroll's crossbar.

88 minsInches away froma goal for Portugal as Varela strikes the ball from 25 yards out. Carroll has made a superb save but the referee disagrees and gives a goal kick.

87 minsRonaldo turns Hughes inside out but when it looks likely he will shoot, a disguised cross evades his four teammates in the box.

86 minsThe visitors are high up the pitch with good possession, Veloso does well to block a Hughes cross and Portugal are back on the front foot.

84 minsHughes is shown a yellow card for time wasting from a throw in. You can't blame him!

83 minsA draw wuld be a great result for Northern Ireland but Portugal can smell victory. The visitors do well to clear an attack with the home side committing big numbers to a promising move.

80 minsA deep cross is headed back across goal by Varela and the ball falls to Postiga who has the simple task of finishing from six yards for his 23rd goal on the international stage.

80 minsGoal! Portugal 1-1 Northern Ireland (Postiga)

79 minsPostiga has his best effort of the match from 20 yards but Carroll times his dive well to push the ball away.

78 minsCorry Evans is putting in a big shift for the visitors, hunting down every loose ball to put pressure on Pepe and Alves.

76 minsRonaldo finds Postiga and the striker turns well but his shot is straight at Carroll

75 minsA third substitute for Portugal as Bento sends on Eder to replace Pereira. Northern Ireland have 15 minutes to survive.

73 minsPortugal quickly break following an attack from the visitors but a Veloso cross is superbly headed away by Cathcart.

71 minsHughes keeps Northern Ireland ahead when a long ball from Pepe finds Ronaldo but Hughes clears the ball before the Real forward can take a shot.

69 minsThe visitors are still looking dangerous. Lafferty is unlucky not to find Corry Evans with a flick on but they refuse to give up on lost causes and quickly win back possession.

67 minsThe pace of the game has started to slow down and that will suit Northern Ireland. Plenty of time remaining for the hosts to find an equaliser.

66 minsPostiga collects the ball nicely to create space from 10 yards out but his shot is once again wayward.

65 minsSilvestre Varela has replaced Micael for Portugal.

64 minsThere's a stoppage in the match when a laser is directed at Carroll. The referee speaks to the fourth official and they soon continue.

63 minsMore luck for the Irish as Davis slices a clearance inches over the crossbar with Carroll helpless in his goal.

62 minsNani does superbly to go past McGivern but his cross somehow evades his teammates waiting inside the area.

61 minsThe visitors are struggling to retain the ball as they did in the first period. Crosses are being delivered frequently by the Portuguese wingers.

59 minsNani finally gets a cross in a good area and Ronaldo's strike is somehow kept out by Carroll's boot. It's the closest the host have come to a goal tonight.

55 minsNorthern Ireland are finding space in midfield when Portugal commit to attacks but they must take any chance that they create.

53 minsCarroll does very well to keep hold of Postiga's close range header but the assistant referee's flag was raised and Northern Ireland have a free kick.

51 minsNorwood is a big threat for the visitors. ALves looks concerned with his pace and he's lucky to steal the ball and clear the danger.

50 minsA substitution escaped me during the break. Ruben Amorim has replaced Lopes, with Veloso moving to left back.

49 minsIt's been one of those nights so far for Nani. Moutinho delivers a perfect long range pass onto the winger's foot but he loses control and Hughes clears the danger.

48 minsMicael is close with a powerful 25 yard strike that Carroll is thankful to watch creep over the crossbar.

46 minsPortugal start the better of the two sides but they haven't had many ideas in attack so far.

HTThe players are back out on the pitch, no changes yet for either side.

HTLong way to go for O'Neill's men tonight. Portugal will create chances until the very last minute and they will still be wary of the Ronaldo threat.

HTPortugal may feel that they deserved a goal in the first period but their final ball has been poor. Jonny Evans has been superb for the visitors, while Lafferty has done a brilliant job in the lone striker role.

HTHalf-time: It's certainly not the score that people were predicting but Northern ireland lead Portugal at the break. McGinn's delicate chip is the difference between the two sides after 45 minutes and Paulo Bento has been left with plenty to ponder during the interval.

45 minsWe're moments away from half-time as Portugal waste another attack when Pereira drills a cross away from a desperate Ronaldo.

43 minsRonaldo's frustration grows when his cross is easily collected by Carroll. Postiga is the main target of abuse from the Madrid forward for an apparent lack of movement inside the box.

40 minsNani receives some angry glares from his own teammates when he attempts a trick inside the box, despite Ronaldo and Postiga finding space at the back post.

38 minsIt's the third time in this match that Northern !reland have nearly scored an own goal. A Nani delivery is sliced into the air by McGivern's outstretched boot but Carroll recovers to collect the ball.

36 minsPortugal will not understand how they are not level. Evans volleys the ball against his own crossbar from 6 yards and Pereira is inches away from the bottom corner just moments later.

34 minsHughes is lucky not to head the ball into his own net from a superb Nani corner. Despite the protests, the referee decides to award a goal kick.

32 minsIt's a classic goal on the counter attack and Northern Ireland now have a lead to defend. Portugal apply pressure almost immediately but the visitors are looking good in defence.

30 minsWhat a superb opening goal from McGinn! Evans intercepts another Portugal attack and he finds Lafferty with a good pass. The striker spots McGinn and his delivery is perfect for his teammate to chip the ball over Patricio.

30 minsGoal! Portugal 0-1 Northern Ireland (McGinn)

28 minsCarroll is forced to tip the ball over the crossbar when Pereira's deep cross is headed towards goal by Nani. The resulting corner is dealt with by Hughes.

26 minsPortugal enjoy a longer period inside the Northern Ireland half but a superb header from Evans clears the danger.

25 minsEvans has been a rock in defence for the visitors in the opening quarter of this game. Paulo Bento is looking slightly concerned on the sidelines.

23 minsIt is Norwood who has Northern Ireland's first shot on target with a free kick from 25 yards that Patricio does well not to spill.

21 minsImpressive start to the game from the visitors, Norwood looks particularly dangerous with the ball at his feet. Portugal are beginning to get frustrated.

20 minsNorthern Ireland breathe a sigh of relief when a Portugal lands on the head of Pepe but the central defender is off target from close range.

18 minsBest move of the game so far as a quick passing move from the visitors ends with a cross from Corry Evans but Lafferty fails to beat Pepe to the ball.

16 minsIt will be a long night for Lafferty, the striker does well to exchange passes with Davis but his appeals for a free kick following a Pepe challenge is dismissed by the official.

15 minsPortugal have been poor in the final third of the pitch so far. Nani screams for the ball from Veloso but the ball is far too firm on this slippery surface.

13 minsNorthern Ireland might have to rely on dead ball situations to find a goal and they do look a good option for the visitors. Evans finds space at the back post but his header is wayward.

11 minsJonny Evans is forced into some good defending when a Nani pass threatens to find the roaming Veloso.

10 minsRonaldo has started on the left wing but I'd expect him to move into a central position at some point. The Real Madrid forward tries to find Postiga with a curled pass but the former Spurs striker can't get control of the ball.

8 minsNeither side have settled into a good passing rhythm as yet. It's very wet in Porto tonight and that could be a factor.

6 minsDespite the early pressure from the visitors, Ronaldo sends Northern Ireland a warning with a low shot that rolls inches wide of Carroll's post.

4 minsPortugal look nervous in defence as another set piece is cleared just before Davis can unleash an effort from the edge of the area.

3 minsNorwood nearly surprises Portugal with a deep corner that just evades Lafferty at the back post

2 minsLopes hits one from long range and Postiga is inches away from tapping the ball past Carroll.

1 minThere's a slight delay as Ronaldo is awarded his 100th cap. Portugal get the game underway..

8.49pmNot many people seem to take the FIFA rankings but Portugal are in third place and you can see why. The players that were seen as future stars are beginning to mature and with Ronaldo in the side, they are capable of anything.

8.44pmThe players are now making their way out onto the pitch and the national anthems have begun.

8.43pmDean Shiels may have felt he would have started this evening but Northern Ireland's midfield looks like it will have a defensive mindset.

8.41pmPortugal are heavy favourites tonight, it will be a shock if they do not pick up three points but Paulo Bento will have warned his players against complacency.

8.36pmAs expected, Ronaldo wins his 100th cap for Portugal at the age of 27. The attributes of Nani, Postiga and Moutinho mean that the visitors cannot afford to only concentrate on Ronaldo.

8.35pmPortugal: Patricio, Pereira, Alves, Pepe, Lopes, Veloso, Micael, Ronaldo, Moutinho, Nani, Postiga

8.31pmGareth McAuley misses out for the visitors due to suspension, while Shane Ferguson and Chris Brunt are both injured. Lafferty is expected to play as a lone striker.

8.26pmNorthern Ireland: Carroll, McGivern, J Evans, Hughes, Cathcart, McGinn, Davis, Baird, Norwood, C Evans, Lafferty

8.24pmMichael O'Neill has made four changes from the draw with Luxembourg last month. Full team news is on the way.

8.19pmGood evening everyone. It's a big night for Cristiano Ronaldo as he looks set to earn his 100th cap for Portugal. Can Northern Ireland stop the Real Madrid ace? Stay with Sports Mole to find out.


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