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Luxembourg stun Northern Ireland

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10 Sep 2013 23:31:54

Luxembourg stun Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland were humbled 3-2 by lowly Luxembourg as Mathias Janisch grabbed a late but deserved winner at the Stade Josy Barthel.

Luxembourg had won just three World Cup qualifiers in their history before this match, the last of them at home in 1972, but were full value for three points as Northern Ireland turned in a turgid display.

Martin Paterson had put his side ahead against the run of play and Gareth McAuley looked to have snatched a draw in the 82nd minute, but in between goals from Aurelien Joachim and Stefano Bensi gave a fairer representation of the match.

So porous was the visiting defence that a winning goal felt almost inevitable and it arrived when Janisch poked his shot through a mass of bodies in the 87th minute.

For Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill it will surely feel like much of the good work achieved in beating Russia last month and running Portugal close last week has now evaporated.

Northern Ireland almost cashed in on an under-hit back pass inside 30 seconds, Jamie Ward chasing down unsuccessfully, but otherwise the hosts looked in greater control in the opening stages.

They had most of the early possession and Daniel Da Mota - a scorer in the 1-1 draw at Windsor Park - rode Oliver Norwood's challenge before bending a hopeful effort off target.

Lars Gerson headed a teasing corner wide before Bensi produced a mazy run into the box, but it was Northern Ireland who scored against the run of play.

Shane Ferguson spotted a gap in the home defence and found the alert Paterson when he drifted into it.

The Huddersfield striker took a touch to get the ball out of his feet and then finished emphatically with his left boot.


PA

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