Tag Archives: pride

Schalk Brits ready to face Ruan Pienaar and Johann Muller

Pride at stake for Brits as Sarries hooker goes head-to-head with fellow Boks

-13.

Main man: Ulster rely heavily on Pienaar's creativity

Main man: Ulster rely heavily on Pienaar's creativity

Brits said: ‘I’ve been blessed with no injuries, and for the first time in two years I don’t feel over-played.

‘The club look after us unbelievably well and in return all we can do is to work very, very hard on the pitch.

‘That’s not been flashy. If it means making 20 tackles or hitting 20 rucks to ensure we win then that’s what we will do.’

Derby 2 Leicester 1 – Match report: Chris Martin seals crucial victory for County

Derby 2 Leicester 1: Martin seals crucial victory for County to heap more misery on Pearson

PUBLISHED:

19:44 GMT, 16 March 2013

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UPDATED:

19:56 GMT, 16 March 2013

First-half headers from captain Richard Keogh and on-loan striker Chris Martin saw Derby end their Leicester hoodoo with victory at Pride Park.

After five successive npower Championship defeats against the Foxes, Nigel Clough's side broke the sequence with a vital three points to move them clear of the relegation zone.

Substitute Jeff Schlupp pulled a goal back for the visitors just after the hour mark but Leicester could not rescue anything from the game as their winless league run reached five matches.

Rush of blood to the head: Chris Martin celebrates his goal to put County 2-0 up

Rush of blood to the head: Chris Martin celebrates his goal to put County 2-0 up

Frank Fielding returned in goal for Derby in one of four changes made by Rams boss Clough.

Fielding replaced Adam Legzdins to make his first appearance since losing his place through injury at the start of October.

With Gareth Roberts out with a knock
sustained in training this week, on-loan Watford midfielder Craig
Forsyth filled in at left-back.

Leading scorer Jamie Ward, midfielder
Craig Bryson and right-back Kieron Freeman all returned from injury as
Ben Davies and Valentin Gjokaj dropped to the bench.

Leicester manager Nigel Pearson made
one change to his side, recalling fit-again left-back Paul Konchesky in
place of striker Schlupp.

No way through: Lloyd Dyer (centre) finds his path blocked by Derby's Kieron Freeman and Paul Coutts

No way through: Lloyd Dyer (centre) finds his path blocked by Derby's Kieron Freeman and Paul Coutts

Match Facts

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Andy King headed over the crossbar as the Foxes attacked early on but it was Derby who took the lead after 16 minutes.

Leicester captain Wes Morgan conceded a free-kick wide on the left and Keogh glanced home Ward's delivery from six yards out.

A mistake by Jeff Hendrick midway through the first half almost led to an equalising goal.

The midfielder lost possession to
opposite number Richie Wellens on the edge of his own box but Lloyd Dyer
scuffed his volley after being picked out at the far post by David
Nugent, who was denied by Fielding shortly afterwards when he let fly
from long range.

Derby felt they should have had a
penalty in the 40th minute when Wellens tripped Freeman just inside the
area down the right-hand side.

In the air: Derby's Richard Keogh opened the scoring with this bullet header

In the air: Derby's Richard Keogh opened the scoring with this bullet header

The Rams finished the first half on
top and almost extended their lead when Ward escaped down the left
before setting up Martin, but the man on loan from Norwich saw his shot
saved by Kasper Schmeichel.

Martin would not have to wait long
for a goal, however, as he headed home Forsyth's left-wing cross a
minute before the half-time whistle.

Schlupp, who in Konchesky's absence
had been filling in as a makeshift left-back, was introduced at the
start of the second half with Wellens making way.

And the 20-year-old, who recently
spent a month on trial at Manchester United, got Leicester back into the
game after 62 minutes with an arrowing left-footed strike across
Fielding after being teed up by Nugent's lay-off.

Jumping for joy: Jeff Schlupp of Leicester hit a terrfic strike for the Foxes but they still went down 2-1 to their midlands rivals

Jumping for joy: Jeff Schlupp of Leicester hit a terrfic strike for the Foxes but they still went down 2-1 to their midlands rivals

The German-born Ghana international
continued to make a nuisance of himself and almost returned the favour
for Nugent in the 70th minute, but this time Fielding made the save.

At the other end, substitute Davies
worried Schmeichel with a 25-yard shot but his effort was always rising
and narrowly cleared the crossbar. Martin's deflected strike then looped
kindly into the hands of the Dane.

Leicester pushed for an equaliser but
never really tested Fielding as Derby held on for a first Championship
victory in nine outings to climb into the top half of the table.

Leicester had been pushed down to
sixth with Nottingham Forest's win at Hull earlier in the day and
Pearson's team remain in the final play-off spot.

West Ham v Liverpool: Martin Skrtel relishes Carlton Cole battle

Let's get physical! Skrtel relishing battle with Hammers frontman Cole

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UPDATED:

14:04 GMT, 8 December 2012

Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel is looking forward to the rough and tumble of the physical challenge posed by West Ham.

The Slovakia defender may not have to face on-loan Anfield team-mate Andy Carroll, who would have been ineligible to play even if he had not been ruled out for two months with a knee injury, but expects a similar test from another big frontman, Carlton Cole.

Cole scored his first goal of the season in the 3-1 win over Chelsea last weekend and Skrtel knows he can be a handful – but that makes it even more enjoyable for the centre-back.

Up for it: Liverpool's Martin Skrtel is relishing his upcoming battle with West Ham forward Carlton Cole

Up for it: Liverpool's Martin Skrtel is relishing his upcoming battle with West Ham forward Carlton Cole

'For me personally it is better if they play with a big striker because that is what I like,' said Skrtel.

'I am more comfortable than playing against smaller guys.

'But it is no different who is playing, whether it was Andy or Carlton Cole.

'They are all dangerous and we have to focus and be careful for 90 minutes and don't let them score.

'I am looking forward to it and I'll try to do my best to make sure they don't.

'It is going to be a difficult game because it is going to be physical and we have to be ready for that.

'We have to play our game and try to beat them and I hope the quality is on our side and we can beat them.'

Defensive stability has returned to some degree in the last few weeks combined with players other than Luis Suarez finding the net.

As a centre-back, Skrtel takes great pride in the former as he admits Liverpool were shaky in defence earlier in the season as the team tried to adjust to new manager Brendan Rodgers' different ways of working.

Hammer time: Carlton Cole was on target against his former club Chelsea last week

Hammer time: Carlton Cole was on target against his former club Chelsea last week

'For me as a defender, but also for the whole team it is good when we don't concede a goal because that is where we start from,' added the 27-year-old.

'If you don't concede a goal you have a good chance of winning the game and I think we have tightened up in recent weeks.

'Of course we know from the beginning of the season it wasn't working well because too many things had changed, but in the last few weeks we have started to play better and we are stronger at the back.'

Liverpool have successfully bounced back from the ending of their eight-match unbeaten league run when even the performance in the defeat at Tottenham was encouraging.

Missing man: Reds hitman Luis Suarez is suspended for the visit to East London

Missing man: Reds hitman Luis Suarez is suspended for the visit to East London

Having beaten Southampton at home last weekend they progressed to the last 32 of the Europa League with a victory over Udinese in Italy.

Skrtel believes momentum is growing and insists they need to use that to mount a push for the top four, which is still tantalisingly in reach despite a disappointing start to the Reds' campaign.

The next month will probably determine – both on and off the pitch where January signings are expected to, at the very least, bolster the forward line – whether they in a position to mount a bid

'In the last three weeks we have got better and the confidence is growing,' he added.

'It was a big game in Italy and we knew we had to win and we got it to get through to the next round.

'We just have to carry on this way and be better and better now.

'The period up to and over Christmas is very important and I think we have to get as many points as we can going from game to game and try to get closer to the top four.'

Leicester 4 Derby 1 match report:

Leicester 4 Derby 1: Nugent at the double as Foxes move up to third

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UPDATED:

19:59 GMT, 1 December 2012

Derby's miserable away form in the npower Championship continued as
they failed to recover from a dismal start at promotion-chasing local
rivals Leicester.

England Under-21 international Martyn Waghorn set up Zak Whitbread for
Leicester's opener, added a second with a cool side-footed finish and
could have scored three more in an embarrassingly one-sided opening
half-hour.

Leicester's David Nugent rises above Richard Keogh to head home third goal

High point: Leicester's David Nugent rises above Richard Keogh to head home third goal

Match facts

Leicester: Schmeichel, De Laet, Morgan, Whitbread, Konchesky, Knockaert (James 80), Drinkwater, King, Dyer (Marshall 66), Waghorn, Vardy (Nugent 66). Subs Not Used: Logan, Schlupp, Moore, Futacs.

Goals: Whitbread 6, Waghorn 23, Nugent 74,89.

Derby: Legzdins, Brayford, Keogh, Buxton, O'Connor (Freeman 77),
Coutts,Hendrick,Hughes,Jacobs (Bennett 85),Robinson (Tyson 81),
Sammon. Subs Not Used: Fielding, O'Brien, Davies Hoganson.

Booked: Coutts.

Goals: Robinson 38.

Att: 20,680

Ref: Geoff Eltringham (Tyne & Wear).

The latest Championship table, results and fixtures

The visitors belatedly sprung into life and pulled a goal back through Theo Robinson's 38th-minute half-volley.

Leicester were not to be denied, though, and wrapped up an eighth home win of the campaign – and fifth successive league win over County – through two late goals from substitute David Nugent.

Nigel Pearson's men move up to third in the table as a result of their victory, while Derby, such a formidable force at Pride Park, have now lost their last four on the road and lie 16th.

Each side showed two changes from their midweek assignments. Paul Konchesky and Anthony Knockaert were restored to Leicester's line-up, while Derby brought in James O'Connor and Jeff Hendrick in place of injured duo Gareth Roberts and Craig Bryson.

The excellent Waghorn was at the heart of the action as Leicester initially threatened to run riot, creating eight presentable chances before their opponents could muster a noteworthy attempt on goal.

Whitbread registered his maiden goal for the Foxes when heading home the forward's outswinging corner in the sixth minute.

Waghorn then forced a save from Adam Legzdins with one free-kick and rattled the crossbar with another before hitting the target again with an acrobatic volley.

Leicester soon added a deserved second when Knockaert capitalised on an error from O'Connor and picked out Jamie Vardy in the box. An unselfish lay-off to Waghorn followed and the game's outstanding player finished with ease.

Some atrocious defending enabled Vardy, who had earlier fired wide, and Knockaert to bring further stops from Legzdins, but Derby eventually woke from their slumber and dominated the remainder of the first period.

The Rams were rewarded for their improvement when Robinson latched onto a cross from Michael Jacobs and took a touch before stabbing a powerful finish beyond Kasper Schmeichel.

Conor Sammon and Robinson were subsequently denied by Schmeichel, before Lloyd Dyer got the hosts going again in the 57th minute with a fine run and shot that was beaten away by Legzdins at his near post.

Derby continued to pose problems at the other end, prompting a double change by Pearson that saw Nugent and Ben Marshall introduced in place of Vardy and Dyer.

After Waghorn had seen an effort deflect on to the underside of the bar via the body of Legzdins, the substitutes combined to settle home nerves with 16 minutes remaining.
Marshall delivered a pinpoint cross from the left, leaving Nugent with a simple close-range header.

That knocked the stuffing out of Derby and there was time for Nugent, who also had a goal disallowed, to rub salt into the Rams' wounds with an 89th-minute half-volley into the top-right corner.

Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool on alert as Derby ready to sell 4m Will Hughes

Arsenal, Man City and Liverpool on alert as cash-strapped Derby prepare 4m Hughes auction

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UPDATED:

07:44 GMT, 13 November 2012

Derby County boss Nigel Clough is being forced to cash in on starlet Will Hughes after being told to raise 1.8million in the New Year.

Clough, who has managed
to keep the club on an even keel despite cost-cutting at Pride Park,
needs to find the additional finance when the January transfer window
opens.

Derby County's Will Hughes (left)

Highly-rated: Derby County's Will Hughes (left)

And that means the 17-year-old midfielder will be put up for an auction with Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool considering bids.

Clough values Hughes, who has been called into Stuart Pearce's squad for the game against Northern Ireland, at around 4m.

And such is Derby's position at the moment that the former England international would ask for the money in a lump sum.

So far, Arsenal are the only club to make contact with Derby but Manchester City and Liverpool are also known to be interested while Everton have also scouted him recently.

Hughes has signed professional forms with Derby but the Rams can still effectively put him up for sale and such has been his progress that there will be no shortage of takers.

England caps are still an honour – Jeff Powell

England caps are an honour… so wear them with pride like Bobby once did

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UPDATED:

23:54 GMT, 12 November 2012

EXCLUSIVE: Gerrard emulates Moore on the eve of his 100th England cap

Click here to see the pictures as Steven Gerrard shares a special moment with pupils at his former school — emulating the famous picture of England's iconic captain

They're abandoning ship faster than the rats on the Titanic.

Men for whom it should be a matter of enormous pride to play for their countries are pulling out of international matches this week faster than they can bank their club pay cheques at the rate of 10 a minute.

Never mind the national pride, here’s the sick note. Basically it reads: ‘It’s only a friendly.’

Centurion: The legendary Bobby Moore posed with 99 schoolboys each wearing an England cap prior to winning his 100th as an England player

Centurion: Bobby Moore posed with 99 schoolboys each
wearing an England cap prior to winning his 100th

Time was when these games were nearly all friendlies and great players would have given – if not quite their right arms – at least a couple of fingers for the privilege of pulling on the shirt.

Now they pull a pained expression.

The world might never have heard of Ferenc Puskas and his mighty Magyars had it not been for the small matter of a so-called non-competitive match at Wembley in the spring of 1953, when Hungary stormed the hitherto impregnable fortress of English football and fired a six-goal salvo into the heart of our national game.

A year later, in the return friendly, they made it seven and changed us forever.

John Barnes would not have immortalised himself with a wonder goal in the cathedral of Rio’s Maracana unless England had travelled to Brazil to practice playing against those infernal South Americans.

That friendly is more fondly remembered than any England World Cup match of late.

Magnificent Magyars: Hungary's Ferenc Puskas (right) greets Billy Wright at Wembley in 1953

Magnificent Magyars: Hungary's Ferenc Puskas (right) greets Billy Wright at Wembley in 1953

The cap which Barnes received for his exploit is the most cherished of his mementoes. It seems there are England players now who would rather put a baseball cap on backwards and go for a night out.

Roy Hodgson is not so much England’s new manager as the secretary of a youth club, so little known are some of the kids he is calling up for national service in Sweden on Wednesday evening.

Frankly, at first glance, I thought Zaha was a clothes shop. It turns out he is a lad who, until yesterday, had been torn between playing for England or the Ivory Coast… someday.

I wish the lad well but if he does plump for this country I hope he never forgets that his big chance came in the kind of game which so many of his elders – and supposedly betters – are in the habit of calling ‘meaningless.’

Neither Bobby Moore or Bobby Charlton ever described any England match in which they took part in such disparaging terms. Nor did any of their distinguished peers. For men like these, it was always an honour to play for the country.

And even though David Beckham is a long-time sparring partner of mine, it has to be said that he always wanted to play in every England game. In fact, still does.

Unforgettable: John Barnes embarks on his epic run before scoring against Brazil at the Maracana in 1984

Unforgettable: John Barnes embarks on his epic run before scoring against Brazil at the Maracana in 1984

Although it was country first for the older gentlemen of England they were conscious, also, that every international appearance enhanced their reputations both at home and abroad.

They knew, too, that if they wanted to become World Cup stars it was only proper that they served their time and answered the call every time it came.

Now no-one doubts that John Terry is on crutches for a reason after that leg-crunching collision on Sunday.

But while it could well be that yesterday’s scans of other celebrated limbs revealed serious hurt, we can be forgiven for expecting that a whole posse of celebrated names missing from the passenger manifest for the flight to Stockholm will suddenly reappear, right as rain, in the Premier League this weekend.

Maybe there is pressure from some leading managers – Arsene Wenger for one is a leading campaigner for the abolition of friendlies – but the kind of strong-minded footballer who ought to be picked for England should be able to resist.

Patriot: David Beckham would still play for England in every match if he were selected

Patriot: David Beckham would still play for England in every match if he were selected

It’s not only the English chaps, of course, Robin van Persie – who came under Wenger’s influence for a long time at Arsenal – is one of many overseas Premier Leaguers opting out of ‘friendly’ week on the Continent.

In a perfect world, all the replacements would do so amazingly well that the services of the cynical old drop-outs would not be required in future.

That is most unlikely to happen, of course. But perhaps the mere thought of it might send out a reminder to the celebrities that since much of their fame and fortune is garnered from playing in the big World Cup games we expect in return that they pay their dues on the less glamorous occasions.

And if that’s not enough, in this of all weeks, let them not forget to wear not only their poppies with pride… but also their caps.

Liverpool and Chelsea lead chase for Charlton wonderkid Joe Gomez with defender set to star for England

Liverpool and Chelsea lead the chase for Charlton wonderkid Gomez with defender set to star for England U16 in Wales tonight

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UPDATED:

15:22 GMT, 1 November 2012

Thumbs up: Charlton manager Chris Powell will be keeping an eye on Joe Gomez's progress

Thumbs up: Charlton manager Chris Powell will be keeping an eye on Joe Gomez's progress

Charlton wonderkid Joe Gomez will be the centre of attention among Barclays Premier League scouts tonight.

The 15-year-old defender is being monitored by a host of top-flight clubs – including Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City.

And spies will run the rule over the teenager, whose ability has been described as ‘off the scale’, when he plays for England Under 16s against Wales in Port Talbot tonight.

Liverpool and Chelsea are understood to be leading the chase to land Gomez should the teenager decided to quit south London.

Pride of the Valley: Joe Gomez is highly thought of at Charlton

Pride of the Valley: Joe Gomez is highly thought of at Charlton

But the Addicks are confident the highly-rated youngster will sign professional terms at the Valley.

Charlton would be eligible for compensation should Gomez decide to leave for the Premier League.

SCOUTING REPORT: JOE GOMEZ

Gomez is a central defender with pace, but who can play.
He purrs like a Rolls Royce and Charlton have long since recognised his
ability.

He played for the U18 team aged 15 and is now (aged 16) is a
regular in the older team.

He is good in the air, but his strength is on the ground and
he has ability on the ball as he develops under former centre half Paul Hart,
who played for Leeds, Nottingham Forest and Blackpool, among other clubs. Hart
made 567 league appearances and is a good tutor for Gomez.

Charlton are proud of their youth development credentials
and are confident they will keep him, but it’s no surprise at the interest
being shown.

So eager are Charlton to keep spies away from their star
players, a false team sheet was put out for their FA Youth Cup quarter final
against Manchester United at Old Trafford last season, when Sir Alex Ferguson
was watching from the director’s box.

Aston Villa v Norwich: Paul Lambert admits grudge with City chairman runs deep

Lambert admits grudge against Norwich chief runs deep ahead of clash with former club

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UPDATED:

12:03 GMT, 26 October 2012

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert admits he had not spoken to Norwich chairman Alan Bowkett for two years as he prepares to face his former club at Villa Park.

Lambert will do battle with the Canaries on Saturday for the first time since he quit Carrow Road at the end of last season to take charge at Villa.

Lambert and Norwich are suing each other for breach of contract and the matter will be decided by a Premier League manager's tribunal.

Feud: Paul Lambert (left) and Norwich chairman Alan Bowkett are in a legal battle

Feud: Paul Lambert (left) and Norwich chairman Alan Bowkett are in a legal battle

But Lambert was upset last month when Bowkett made the matter public at a fans' forum and claimed he had left all of his previous clubs in a similar manner.

Lambert insists his action is only a counter-claim to Norwich's charge that he breached his contract when resigning five months ago.

When asked about Bowkett's claims, Lambert said: 'I don't know because I've never spoken to the chairman for about three years.

'Perhaps that is a bit of an exaggeration, maybe two. It's a good chunk of time. Why That's football. Let him talk. We will see what happens.'

Lambert has the backing of the League Manager's Association and is confident he will win his case.

He said: 'Could I have handled leaving Norwich any differently

'Me, not at all. I took advice from the LMA and I know what is going on.

'It
will be in the hands of a Premier League manager's tribunal and
hopefully it will be sorted. But I've got nothing to be ashamed of. I've
got nothing to hide.'

Point to prove: Norwich travel to Villa Park on Saturday to face their old boss

Point to prove: Norwich travel to Villa Park on Saturday to face their old boss

Lambert looks back with pride on steering Norwich to successive promotions but is unsure what reception he will receive from their fans.

He said: 'When you leave a club, especially after what we'd done, you'd think we'd be made to feel welcome.

'But it doesn't always transpire that way. I look back at the three years with pride.

'It was an incredible part of my life which I'll never forget and the crowd were magic with me.

'Football moves on but I'll never forget the time there. I loved my time there but I don't think I'll be made welcome to go back, that's for sure.'

Steven Gerrard proud to lead England for FA"s 150 year anniversary

Proud Gerrard delighted finally to be given England armband ahead of landmark year

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UPDATED:

10:03 GMT, 24 October 2012


Captain fantastic: Steven Gerrard wearing the armband for England against Poland last week

Captain fantastic: Steven Gerrard wearing the armband for England against Poland last week

Steven Gerrard has revealed his 'enormous pride' at the prospect of wearing the England captain's armband during the FA's 150th anniversary year.

Roy Hodgson made the Liverpool midfielder his skipper after taking over the Three Lions last May, and he is almost certain to continue in the post heading into a big 12 months for the FA in 2013.

Gerrard was made to wait a long time to become the permanent captain of his country, as the likes of David Beckham, Rio Ferdinand and John Terry all took precedence.

But the 32-year-old star is delighted to have finally earned his opportunity in such an important year for English football.

He said: 'It is a source of enormous pride to captain my country, and to do so in such a significant year is fantastic.

'The history of football in this country is immense and it is staggering to think next year it will be 150 years since the organisation came together.

'Football has been my life from a very young age and it is important that we celebrate the opportunities and benefits of the game.

'It brings people so much happiness and while I’ve travelled the world as a footballer there is nowhere in the world quite like our country for passion and enthusiasm.'

Roy's boy: Hodgson (left) handed Gerrard the honour after a long wait

Roy's boy: Hodgson (left) handed Gerrard the honour after a long wait

England women’s team boss Hope Powell
added: '2013 will be a really exciting year for The FA and I am already
looking forward to being involved in it.

'Next year will also be 20 years since The FA took over the running of the women’s game in this country and we have made incredible strides over the last two decades.

'Football is now the most popular female team sport and we are third in terms of participation figures behind men’s football and men’s cricket.

'The FA WSL has just finished its second season and we are already starting to see the benefits of our first-ever semi-professional women’s league.

'On the international front, England have just qualified for Euro 2013 – our fifth consecutive appearance at a major finals and we will be looking to make a good account of ourselves to help The FA mark what will undoubtedly be a big year.'

England women’s captain Casey Stoney has targeted a trophy at the upcoming European Championships to add to the FA's celebrations.

She said: 'To be an England captain in The FA’s 150th year is something I’ll be extremely proud of.

'The FA has really helped improve and raise the profile of the women’s game and I know they are planning on doing even more in the next few years.

'It’s also a massive year for us with the Euro finals in Sweden and I’d love to win something with England.

'We’ve certainly got the ability, we just need to go out there and prove we are good enough to get over the finish line.'

Michael O"Neill heralds Northern Ireland"s courage after holding Portugal in Porto

Purring O'Neill heralds Northern Ireland's courage after holding Portugal in Porto

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UPDATED:

23:05 GMT, 16 October 2012

Michael O'Neill hailed a 'huge result' for his Northern Ireland side after they held a star-studded Portugal side to a 1-1 draw on home turf.

O'Neill has had precious little to celebrate since taking over as Northern Ireland boss at the turn of the year, most recently seeing his men take just a point against lowly Luxembourg at Windsor Park.

But he could scarcely conceal his pride after seeing his side come within touching distance of a famous win at Porto's Dragao Stadium.

'I'm hugely proud of the effort and what the players gave us tonight. I think we saw a huge amount of character in this team.

Proud: Michael O'Neill saluted his team's character in Porto

Proud: Michael O'Neill saluted his team's character in Porto

'It's a huge result. 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 tonight and be their manager.

'That's because of what they gave to the cause and to each other.'

The notion that O'Neill would leave Portugal frustrated at sharing the spoils seemed unthinkable before the match, but he admitted to a hint of regret having seen his side hold out for so long.

'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,' he said.

'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.'

Getting ahead: Niall McGinn put Northern Ireland on track for a famous victory

Getting ahead: Niall McGinn put Northern Ireland on track for a famous victory

O'Neill, whose side now have two points from their first three matches in Group F – including their two toughest away trips – declined to suggest how the result compared to other famous days in Northern Ireland's history.

Home wins over England and Spain in 2005 and 2006 remain the high watermark, but taming a side containing the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani and Joao Moutinho on their own patch will surely draw comparison.

'I'm sure it does, but that's for other people to say,' O'Neill added.

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

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

Heartbreak: Helder Postiga wheels away after scoring the equaliser

Heartbreak: Helder Postiga wheels away after scoring the equaliser

Portugal had chances to win the game in the closing stages as Nani, Varela and Eder all went close, the latter in an implausibly generous five minutes of injury time.

O'Neill pointedly added: 'I thought the character of our team was shown in the way they defended for the last 10 minutes after conceding and in the 22 minutes the referee added on.'