O'Neill rues duo's dismissals

Michael O'Neill admitted the dismissals of Chris Brunt and substitute Kyle Lafferty ultimately cost Northern Ireland against Portugal on Friday night.

Last Updated: 07/09/13 at 13:07 Post Comment

The hosts were on course to upset the odds - as they had done in Porto when they claimed a 1-1 draw in their previous Group F meeting - after Gareth McAuley and Jamie Ward netted following Bruno Alves' opener for the 10-man visitors, who had Helder Postiga sent off just before half-time.

However, Brunt saw red on the hour mark before Cristiano Ronaldo stole the show with a fantastic second-half hat-trick to give Portugal a 4-2 win at Windsor Park.

Lafferty was also dismissed with the score at 3-2 10 minutes from time and O'Neill admitted that was a hammer blow to their hopes of upsetting the Group F leaders.

In control

"I thought up until 60 minutes and Chris Brunt's sending off, we were the better team and in control of the game," O'Neill told Sky Sports.

"I thought they scored against the run of play and we responded well to that having gone into our shell a little bit.

"But then obviously the second sending off left us that man short and subsequently we weren't able to deal with that.

"You take the performance of the team, particularly for 60-65 minutes, I thought the energy and the shape of the team was very good.

"We were playing here against one of the top sides in Europe and people have to recognise that."

Ronaldo revenge

Real Madrid forward Ronaldo had his revenge on the Northern Ireland side that spoiled the occasion of his 100th cap last October with a phenomenal display to keep Portugal top of the group ahead of Russia.

"Certainly at the end of the day he showed his class tonight," added O'Neill.

"On the night we're disappointed we've got ourselves into a winning position and circumstances conspired against us."

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

m only commenting on this (I don't care about Liverpool) because F365's twitter said I had call Matt Stanger a tw*t (which I don't agree with anyway) but I just wanted to be the first. Am I the first?

tk421
Trial And Error Rather Than Transition

S

unday, Sunday. Will there be a fan of either team, who if they are winning after 80 mins, won't still be nervous? This could be anything from 0-0 to 5-5, and no one would bat an eye.

megabrow (cufc)
A Season Of Continuous False Dawns

T

his year I am getting F365 a whack-a-mole game but with Brendan instead of the mole (Like the one with JD on Scrubs) and every time he pops up he says something. Outstanding Whack!, Character Whack!, Magnificent Whack!, Wonderful Composure Whack, Whack f**king Whack. Hours of fun.

hump3.
Trial And Error Rather Than Transition

Footer 365

Liverpool: Brendan Rodgers still targets top four

Brendan Rodgers insists Liverpool can still finish in the top four despite being tenth at Christmas.

Premier League: Brendan Rodgers says Liverpool played better in 2-2 draw with Arsenal than in February's 5-1 win

Brendan Rodgers believes Liverpool's performance in Sunday's 2-2 draw with Arsenal was better than in February's 5-1 win.

Premier League: Arsene Wenger insists Arsenal's 2-2 draw away to Liverpool was a fair result

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was content with a point against Liverpool, despite leading in stoppage time at Anfield.

Mail Box

More Players In The Wrong Bloody Shirt

Plus Cristiano Ronaldo, who looks 'heart-breakingly well-suited to a Real Madrid shirt' according to one United fan. Plus, words from the good doctor and plenty more...

Players Plainly Wearing The Wrong Strip...

There are some players who just look plain daft in whatever shirt they're wearing. Like Cesc and Robin. It's a cracking mailbox with a load of different themes...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property