Ronaldo treble inspires Portugal fightback
Portuguese midfielder Cristiano Ronaldo scores his first goal against Northern Ireland during a 2014 World Cup qualifying football match in Belfast on September 6, 2013.
Ronaldo was playing for the first time since Gareth Bale joined him at Real Madrid in a transfer widely reported to have beaten the former Manchester United star's £80 million ($125m) move to the Santiago Bernabeu.
The flamboyant forward ensured he wasn't overshadowed by Bale as his treble took him to 43 goals for Portugal, moving him above the legendary Eusebio into second place on his country's all-time scoring charts.
Ronaldo's heroics capped a remarkable match which came alive from the moment Bruno Alves and Gareth McAuley traded first-half efforts to send the sides in 1-1 at half-time at Windsor Park.
Portugal were in danger of an embarrassing loss when Jamie Ward's scrambled effort put Northern Ireland 2-1 in front early in the second half following the dismissal of Portugal's Helder Postiga.
However, Northern Ireland's Chris Brunt was also sent off on the hour and Real Madrid forward Ronaldo took control with a pair of powerful headers and a late free-kick, before Kyle Lafferty's dismissal finished off the hosts.
Ronaldo's early touches were roundly booed by the crowd, though it was hard not to admire a wonderful piece of trickery that saw him nutmeg Steven Davis.
But Portugal took the lead in the 21st minute when Joao Moutinho's corner was cleared to the edge of the area, where Alves sent a soft volley through the crowd of bodies and into the bottom corner.
Northern Ireland recovered well and their pressure paid dividends in the 36th minute, with McAuley heading his side level from a Shane Ferguson corner.
The buoyant home fans then had more to cheer just before the break as Postiga aimed an apparent headbutt in the direction of McAuley and was shown a straight red card.
Northern Ireland scored their second from another corner in the 52nd minute.
Ferguson was again the provider, whipping the ball into Jonny Evans, who headed down for Ward to scramble home despite Portugal's appeals for offside.
But Brunt's dismissal for a clumsy challenge on Joao Pereira changed the course of the match and Ronaldo headed the equaliser from Moutinho's 68th-minute corner.
There was more elation for Portugal after 77 minutes, when Fabio Coentrao's cross picked out Ronaldo at the far post and he headed emphatically into the corner from close range.
Lafferty was next for an early bath after a senseless lunge at Joao Pereira and Ronaldo then fired home an 83rd-minute free-kick to secure the match ball and the points.