Northern Ireland produced a heroic display to secure a shock point against Portugal in their World Cup qualifier.

Niall McGinn gave the visitors the lead when he chipped the ball over goalkeeper Rui Patricio after good work by Jonny Evans and Kyle Lafferty.

The Portuguese dominated the game but Northern Ireland defended stoutly until Helder Postiga turned and struck home the equaliser after 79 minutes.

The result will rank as one of Northern Ireland's best-ever away performances.

Portugal, who are ranked third in the world, had several chances to level but Michael O'Neill's side held on to earn a deserved draw.

Northern Ireland came into the game with a poor record of just one win in their last 18 matches and two victories in their last 29, but had the backing of almost 1,200 supporters in the Dragao Stadium in Porto.

O'Neill made four changes from the side that drew 1-1 with Luxembourg last month, with Craig Cathcart, Oliver Norwood, Corry Evans and Niall McGinn coming into the team.

Three of the changes were enforced as Gareth McAuley was suspended and Chris Brunt and Shane Ferguson injured, while Dean Shiels dropped to the bench.

Portugal boasted six points from their opening three qualifying fixtures, but were keen to return to winning ways after suffering a 1-0 defeat to Russia in Moscow on Friday.

The Portuguse started the match brightly and Postiga just failed to get a touch after Miguel Lopes fired the ball into the penalty area.

Northern Ireland's remaining World Cup qualifiers

  • v Azerbaijan (h) 14 Nov
  • v Russia (h) 22 March 2013
  • v Israel (h) 26 March 2013
  • v Portugal (h) 6 Sept 2013
  • v Luxembourg (a) 10 Sept 2013
  • v Azerbaijan (a) 11 Oct 2013
  • v Israel (a) 15 Oct 2013

Cristiano Ronaldo, winning his 100th cap, fired a right-foot effort just wide soon after.

Northern Ireland came more into the game and Norwood's low, 25-yard free-kick went into the arms of Rui Patricio.

The visitors took a shock, yet deserved lead, on the half hour when Evans played the ball forward to Lafferty, who found McGinn.

The Aberdeen winger took one touch before chipping the ball over the advancing home goalkeeper for his first international goal.

Norwood then attempted a cheeky lob over the head of Rui Patricio, but the keeper managed to retreat just in time to collect the ball.

At the other end, Cathcart almost scored an own-goal as the ball ricocheted off his leg on to the bar, while Joao Pereira shot wide as the Euro 2012 semi-finalists began to pile on the pressure.

Some heroic defending saw O'Neill's side go in ahead at half-time, but Portugal came close at the start of the second period when Ruben Micael's long-range strike went narrowly over the bar.

Postiga forced Northern Ireland keeper Roy Carroll into a save, but the flag was already up for offside, and then Ronaldo met Nani's cross but Carroll was equal to the task as he saved the Real Madrid forward's shot with his legs.

The Olympiakos goalkeeper was again called into action to palm away a fierce drive from substitute Ruben Amorim, while Steven Davis skewed the ball over his own bar as the desperate rearguard action continued.

Ronaldo closed in on goal again but Aaron Hughes made a crucial block to deny the striker a 38th international goal.

Carroll twice denied Postiga, but the striker found the net 11 minutes from time when the ball fell to him in the area and he whipped the ball into the back of the net from close range.

In the closing minutes, Carroll made yet another fine stop from Silvestre Varela, Nani fired inches wide and the outstanding Evans made a vital intervention to clear Eder's dangerous cross into the area.

Northern Ireland have two points from their opening three fixtures and face Azerbaijan in their next qualifying game in Belfast on 14 November.

Match Stats

Shots

21 6

On target

11 4

Corners

14 4

Fouls

10 10

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +5:07 Full time

Full Time The referee blows his whistle to end the game.

90:00 +3:55

Corry Evans is caught offside. Pedro Rui Patricio takes the free kick.

90:00 +3:14

Filipe Ruben Amorim concedes a free kick for a foul on Niall McGinn. Free kick taken by Jonathan Evans.

90:00 +1:42

Short corner taken by Luis Nani from the left by-line.

90:00 +1:16

Felipe Joao Moutinho takes a inswinging corner.

90:00 +0:41

Silvestre Varela produces a cross, Antonio Eder takes a shot. Save by Roy Carroll.

89:31

Cristiano Ronaldo produces a cross, save made by Roy Carroll.

88:22

Shot from outside the area by Luis Nani misses to the left of the goal.

87:11

Outswinging corner taken by Miguel Veloso, Silvestre Varela has shot on goal from just outside the area which goes wide of the right-hand upright.

86:16

A cross is delivered by Cristiano Ronaldo.

85:23

The offside flag is raised against Kyle Lafferty. Kleper Pepe restarts play with the free kick.

83:33

Kyle Lafferty gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Felipe Joao Moutinho. Miguel Veloso crosses the ball in from the free kick, free kick awarded for a foul by Cristiano Ronaldo on Jonathan Evans. Direct free kick taken by Roy Carroll.

83:20 Booking

Booking Aaron Hughes goes into the referee's book for unsporting behaviour.

82:51

Centre by Silvestre Varela.

81:23

Niall McGinn gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Kleper Pepe. Kleper Pepe takes the free kick.

79:45

The ball is delivered by Oliver Norwood, Jonathan Evans takes a shot. Pedro Rui Patricio makes a save.

79:45 Booking

Booking Kleper Pepe booked.

79:43

Free kick awarded for a foul by Eduardo Bruno Alves on Oliver Norwood.

78:39

Luis Nani provided the assist for the goal.

78:39 Goal scored

Goal! - Helder Postiga - Portugal 1 - 1 N Ireland Helder Postiga fires in a goal from close in to the bottom right corner of the goal. Portugal 1-1 Northern Ireland.

78:19

Helder Postiga takes a shot. Save made by Roy Carroll.

76:34

The ball is sent over by Miguel Veloso, clearance by Craig Cathcart.

75:53

Niall McGinn produces a left-footed shot from the edge of the box and misses to the left of the goal.

75:25

Helder Postiga takes a shot. Roy Carroll makes a save.

73:39

Luis Nani produces a cross, clearance by Ryan McGivern.

72:43

Free kick taken by Pedro Rui Patricio.

72:43 Substitution

Substitution Antonio Eder on for Pedro Joao Pereira.

72:43

Unfair challenge on Kleper Pepe by Kyle Lafferty results in a free kick.

71:07

Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Felipe Joao Moutinho from the right by-line.

70:40

Felipe Joao Moutinho takes the outswinging corner, Oliver Norwood manages to make a clearance.

70:27

Cristiano Ronaldo takes a shot. Blocked by Aaron Hughes.

69:30

A cross is delivered by Luis Nani, save by Roy Carroll.

66:48

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Kyle Lafferty by Eduardo Bruno Alves. Oliver Norwood restarts play with the free kick.

65:56

The referee gives a free kick against Silvestre Varela for handball. Ryan McGivern takes the indirect free kick.

64:56

Shot from close range by Helder Postiga misses to the right of the target.

62:33

Felipe Joao Moutinho decides to take the corner short.

62:24

The ball is swung over by Cristiano Ronaldo, clearance made by Steven Davis.

62:16

The ball is sent over by Luis Nani, clearance by Jonathan Evans.

62:03

Filipe Ruben Amorim takes a shot. Save made by Roy Carroll.

61:41

Inswinging corner taken by Felipe Joao Moutinho, save by Roy Carroll.

61:27

Cristiano Ronaldo crosses the ball, clearance made by Oliver Norwood.

61:19

The ball is delivered by Luis Nani.

60:16

Jonathan Evans makes a clearance.

60:16 Substitution

Substitution Silvestre Varela joins the action as a substitute, replacing Ressureicao Ruben Micael.

60:16

Luis Nani takes the outswinging corner,

59:45

Ressureicao Ruben Micael sends in a cross, Jonathan Evans makes a clearance.

58:30

Effort from 35 yards by Eduardo Bruno Alves went wide of the right-hand post.

57:47

A cross is delivered by Luis Nani, Cristiano Ronaldo takes a shot. Save made by Roy Carroll.

56:27

The ball is sent over by Ressureicao Ruben Micael.

55:20

The ball is delivered by Miguel Veloso, Filipe Ruben Amorim takes a shot. Save by Roy Carroll.

54:15

Shot from 35 yards by Cristiano Ronaldo. Blocked by Jonathan Evans.

53:12

Kyle Lafferty concedes a free kick for a foul on Kleper Pepe. Free kick taken by Kleper Pepe.

52:42

Inswinging corner taken by Oliver Norwood, save made by Pedro Rui Patricio.

50:24

The ball is sent over by Cristiano Ronaldo, save by Roy Carroll.

49:52

Luis Nani crosses the ball, Roy Carroll makes a save.

47:50

Effort from just outside the box by Ressureicao Ruben Micael goes over the bar.

47:31

The ball is swung over by Luis Nani, Jonathan Evans manages to make a clearance.

46:06

Outswinging corner taken by Miguel Veloso.

46:01 Substitution

Substitution Hugo Miguel Lopes leaves the field to be replaced by Filipe Ruben Amorim.

45:01

The second half begins.

45:00 +1:02 Half time

Half Time The first half comes to an end.

45:00 +0:18

Centre by Pedro Joao Pereira.

44:38

Unfair challenge on Cristiano Ronaldo by Oliver Norwood results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Cristiano Ronaldo.

43:39

Corner taken right-footed by Luis Nani, save by Roy Carroll.

43:31

The ball is sent over by Luis Nani, Ryan McGivern makes a clearance.

42:42

Centre by Cristiano Ronaldo, save made by Roy Carroll.

42:20

Oliver Norwood challenges Felipe Joao Moutinho unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Felipe Joao Moutinho.

41:39

Inswinging corner taken by Miguel Veloso from the right by-line, save made by Roy Carroll.

41:30

Luis Nani produces a cross, clearance made by Jonathan Evans.

39:13

Cristiano Ronaldo sends in a cross, clearance by Chris Baird.

38:37

Cristiano Ronaldo sends in a cross, Ryan McGivern makes a clearance.

36:39

Helder Postiga concedes a free kick for a foul on Jonathan Evans. Jonathan Evans restarts play with the free kick.

36:19

Shot from just outside the penalty box by Pedro Joao Pereira misses to the left of the target.

35:57

Centre by Pedro Joao Pereira, Craig Cathcart manages to make a clearance.

35:43

Luis Nani takes a shot. Ryan McGivern gets a block in.

35:04

Free kick awarded for a foul by Kyle Lafferty on Eduardo Bruno Alves. Miguel Veloso restarts play with the free kick.

33:29

Corner taken by Felipe Joao Moutinho, clearance by Chris Baird.

31:19

The referee blows for offside against Kyle Lafferty. Free kick taken by Eduardo Bruno Alves.

30:43

Chris Baird takes a shot. Comfortable save by Pedro Rui Patricio.

29:12

Kyle Lafferty provided the assist for the goal.

29:12 Goal scored

Goal! - Niall McGinn - Portugal 0 - 1 N Ireland Goal scored by Niall McGinn from deep inside the penalty area to the top left corner of the goal. Portugal 0-1 Northern Ireland.

27:49

Corner taken left-footed by Miguel Veloso, Ryan McGivern fouled by Kleper Pepe, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Roy Carroll.

27:30

Luis Nani takes a shot. Save made by Roy Carroll.

26:25

Ressureicao Ruben Micael concedes a free kick for a foul on Kyle Lafferty. Direct free kick taken by Jonathan Evans.

25:50

Kyle Lafferty concedes a free kick for a foul on Eduardo Bruno Alves. Free kick taken by Miguel Veloso.

24:02

Luis Nani sends in a cross.

23:46

Centre by Eduardo Bruno Alves, clearance made by Ryan McGivern.

23:14

Hugo Miguel Lopes fouled by Kyle Lafferty, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick crossed left-footed by Miguel Veloso from left wing.

21:25

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Aaron Hughes by Ressureicao Ruben Micael. Steven Davis takes the direct free kick, Craig Cathcart has a drilled shot. Save by Pedro Rui Patricio.

20:35

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Oliver Norwood by Ressureicao Ruben Micael. Craig Cathcart takes the direct free kick.

18:26

Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Felipe Joao Moutinho from the right by-line to the near post, Close range header by Kleper Pepe misses to the right of the goal.

17:51

The ball is sent over by Aaron Hughes, comfortable save by Pedro Rui Patricio.

13:40

Handball decision goes against Kyle Lafferty. Free kick taken by Kleper Pepe.

13:26

The ball is sent over by Cristiano Ronaldo, Jonathan Evans makes a clearance.

12:29

Corner from the right by-line taken by Oliver Norwood, Headed effort from inside the area by Jonathan Evans misses to the left of the target.

11:41

Outswinging corner taken by Oliver Norwood from the right by-line, Eduardo Bruno Alves makes a clearance.

10:25

The ball is crossed by Pedro Joao Pereira.

9:58

Cristiano Ronaldo delivers the ball.

7:06

Unfair challenge on Craig Cathcart by Felipe Joao Moutinho results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Craig Cathcart.

6:55

The ball is delivered by Luis Nani, clearance by Aaron Hughes.

5:29

Shot from just outside the box by Cristiano Ronaldo misses to the left of the goal.

5:07

Kyle Lafferty is caught offside. Indirect free kick taken by Kleper Pepe.

4:11

Hugo Miguel Lopes handles the ball and concedes a free kick. Free kick crossed right-footed by Oliver Norwood, Hugo Miguel Lopes makes a clearance.

3:08

Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Oliver Norwood, Hugo Miguel Lopes makes a clearance.

2:27

Shot from long range by Cristiano Ronaldo misses to the right of the goal.

1:29

Hugo Miguel Lopes has an effort at goal from outside the penalty box which goes wide right of the target.

0:48

Craig Cathcart challenges Felipe Joao Moutinho unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Miguel Veloso.

0:00

The referee gets the game started.

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