O'Neill hails 'huge result'

Michael O'Neill expressed his pride after Northern Ireland defied the odds to grind out a 1-1 draw in Portugal.

Last Updated: 17/10/12 at 09:05 Post Comment

Niall McGinn celebrates his goal

Niall McGinn celebrates his goal

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Michael O'Neill watched his Northern Ireland side defy the odds to grind out a draw against Portugal, then declared: "I'm proud to be their manager".

O'Neill has yet to record a win after six matches in charge of the national side but there is little doubt that Tuesday night's 1-1 draw in Porto represents a significant moment for the former Shamrock Rovers boss.

The visitors, 117th to Portugal's third in FIFA's world rankings, were starved of possession throughout but produced a spirited rearguard effort to go within 10 minutes of a famous win.

Niall McGinn had put Northern Ireland in front with a cool finish on the half-hour, before Helder Postiga finally salvaged a point for the Seleccao from close range.

"I don't tend to get carried away and the main thing for me is that, regardless of the result, I was proud to stand there and be their manager," O'Neill said.

"That's because of what they gave to the cause and to each other. I'm hugely proud of the effort and what the players gave us

"I think we saw a huge amount of character in this team. It's a huge result."

The evening had started with a special presentation for Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo on the occasion of his 100th cap, and he was clearly intent on celebrating with a goal.

The 27-year-old had numerous chances and saw plenty of the ball, but was ultimately shackled by a hard-working defence.

That O'Neill was able to leave the Dragao Stadium nursing a sense of disappointment at not ruining Ronaldo's big day with a shock win was all the more remarkable.

"We're very disappointed only to draw but we recognised that we would have to defend for our lives and that certainly proved to be the case, especially in the second half," O'Neill added.

"Having gone that far it was a bit of a blow (to concede).

"But we got what we deserved, simple as that, and I'm immensely proud of the players. There was nothing more I could ask from first to last.

"I've told the players what I felt about their performance in the dressing room and that's all that matters to me.

"It's up to other people where they want to rank that in history or in terms of benchmarking that performance."

The result capped a bad week for Portugal boss Paulo Bento, whose side lost 1-0 to Group F leaders Russia having also dominated possession in Moscow.

Bento's men now lie five points behind Russia and he is already close to abandoning hopes of winning the group.

"I'm disappointed with this result, especially after losing to Russia," he said.

"We were very bad in the first half but in the second half I thought we did enough to win.

"We are not in a comfortable situation now. I was thinking of first place and now the goal is to go for second."


Click here for a completely free £10 football bet with Sky Bet


Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

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

Premier League: Neil Warnock blasts officials after Crystal Palace's 3-0 defeat at Man City

Neil Warnock said the decision to disallow a Crystal Palace goal in the 3-0 defeat to Manchester City was "disgraceful".

Villa hold United, Saints win

Aston Villa ended Manchester United's winning run with a 1-1 draw, while Southampton arrested their slump with a 3-0 victory over Everton.

Scottish Premiership: Martin Canning earns Hamilton win over former team Ross County

Former Ross County player Martin Canning came back to haunt his old side as his goal helped Hamilton earn a 1-0 win.

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