Half-Time Report: Niall McGinn strike gives Northern Ireland shock half-time lead in Portugal

Niall McGinn's dinked finish gives Northern Ireland a surprise one-goal lead in Portugal on Cristiano Ronaldo's 100th international appearance.

Northern Ireland have taken a surprise lead against Portugal on Cristiano Ronaldo's 100th international appearance.

The visitors began in a confident mood and earned the first corner of the match after five minutes.

Portugal then started to have the lions' share of possession but rarely troubled Roy Carroll in the visitors' net, with Manchester United defender Jonny Evans clearing the danger on numerous occasions.

Niall McGinn scores for Northern Ireland© PA Photos

The hosts were behind after half an hour when Evans thwarted another Portugal attack before releasing Kyle Lafferty, who held the ball up before finding Niall McGinn.

The Aberdeen man dribbled into the area and lifted over the onrushing Rui Patricio to hand the underdogs the lead.

Northern Ireland almost threw away the lead when Craig Cathcart inadvertently diverted a cross onto his own crossbar but the ball bounced harmlessly clear.

Michael O'Neill
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