Ronaldo's hat-trick helps Portugal beat Northern Ireland

Belfast, Sep 7 (IANS) Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick as Portugal fought back from behind to beat Northern Ireland 4-2 in their World Cup Group F qualifier at Windsor Park here.

Bruno Alves put the visitors ahead after 21 minutes with a volley following Joao Moutinho's corner but Gareth McAuley headed Northern Ireland's leveller 15 minutes later from a Shane Ferguson corner Friday, reports Xinhua.

Helder Postiga was then sent off just before the break and the hosts made Portugal pay when Jamie Ward scored from a corner soon after the restart. Chris Brunt was sent off for a second bookable offence and Portugal took advantage with Ronaldo heading home goals in 68th and 77th minutes.

Substitute Kyle Lafferty was also given his marching orders in 80 minutes for a late challenge and Ronaldo completed his hat-trick three minutes later to make sure of the points and send his side back to the top of Group F while Northern Ireland remain in fourth.


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