2020 Euro Qual C
Date: 7:45 p.m. March 24, 2019
Venue: Windsor Park

Jonny Evans 30' -
Scored: 30'


Josh Magennis 87' -
Scored: 87'


Scored: 33'
- Igor Stasevich 33'


Euro 2020 Qualifier Report: Northern Ireland 2 - 1 Belarus

Sun, Mar 24 2019

Jonny Evans celebrates scoring the opening goal in Windsor Park. Credit: Clare McCahill

Macdara Ferris reports from Windsor Park

It looked like it was going to be a frustrating night in Belfast for Northern Ireland as Belarus seemed set to hold Michael O’Neill’s men to a 1-1 draw only for substitute Josh Magennis to be the match winner three minutes from time.

The home team had the bulk of the possession and created the majority of the chances and so they did deserve the win, even if the winning goal came so late.

A Jonny Evans header gave the home team the lead on 30 minutes but they allowed Igor Stasevich to equalise three minutes later and, with the clock ticking down, it looked like their EURO 2020 qualification bid was over before it had even begun.

With their last four games in their qualifying campaign coming against the Netherlands and Germany, it really was crucial for Norn Iron to take six points from their opening EURO 2020 qualifiers.

Thankfully from the home supporters’ perspective, they were able to follow up Thursday’s 2-0 win over Estonia by taking another three on Sunday night.

Northern Ireland could feel hard done by in not by taking a lead into the break. Michael O’Neill’s Green and White Army dominated the play in the opening half.

They had a number of set pieces that tested the visitors, who seemed willing to concede free kicks in dangerous positions in quite a cavalier manner.

Kyle Lafferty and Paddy McNair seemed to get particular attention from the Belarussian defenders.

There was a succession of McNair corners and it was from such a set piece that the home side took the lead on the half hour mark.

Belarus inconceivably gave Jonny Evans way too much room on the six yard line and he steered his header home for the opener.

That goal came from a corner that Lafferty had won. The Rangers striker’s well struck shot was turned around the post for a set piece that they made the most from.

O’Neill will have been frustrated that his team could only hold onto the lead for three minutes but there was a huge slice of luck for the visitors with their equaliser.

Stasevich cut in from the left and let fly with his right boot. It looked like Bailey Peacock-Farrell had the shot covered only for the ball to loop off Stuart Dallas and tantalisingly just above the keeper’s outstretched hand.

It was Belarus’ first real chance of the game as they seemed content to sit deep for most of the opening half.

Only occasionally did they break forward, with 37-year-old Alex Helb orchestrating their play when he got on the ball.

At the other end Jordan Jones was causing Igor Shitov trouble with his pace. The Kilmarnock winger saw his crosses turned behind for corners on a couple of occasions.

George Saville and McGinn went close with shots late in the half but the teams trooped off level at the break.

It was more of the same in the second half as Northern Ireland put enough pressure on Belarus to force mistakes, giving the home team chances to shoot.

Lafferty did excellently to win the ball and feed Jones. His shot was cleared to McNair but his effort was another blocked effort on the way towards goal.

On the damp Windsor Park surface, Norn Iron zipped the ball around with some slick passing but in front of goal they were mostly reduced to shots from distance as the centre back pairing of Mikhail Sivakov and Aleksandr Martynovich’s were able to deal with the threat from crosses coming from Jones and McGinn.

Laferty should have steered Jamal Lewis’ cross home on 78 minutes and he was replaced moments later by Liam Boyce as O’Neill threw on the Burton Albion striker to lead the line till the end of the game.

It was to be another sub who would be the match winner, however, and much to the relief of the home supporters.

McNair found some space late on and he made it count as he drilled a low cross for substitute Josh Magennis to turn home.

The full house at Windsor Park leapt to their feet as Northern Ireland remain in the hunt for a EURO 2020 qualification spot.

Northern Ireland: Bailey Peacock-Farrell; Stuart Dallas, Craig Cathcart, Johnny Evans, Jamal Lewis; Paddy McNair, Steven Davis ©, George Saville; Niall McGinn (Josh Magennis 68), Kyle Lafferty (Liam Boyce 79), Jordan Jones (Shane Ferguson 85).

Subs not used: Michael McGovern, Conor Hazard, Aaron Hughes, Gareth McAuley, Conor McLaughlin, Tom Flanagan, Jordan Thompson, Paul Smyth, Conor Washington.

Booked: None.

Belarus: Andrei Gorbunov; Igor Shitov (Denis Polyakov 73), ©, Alyaksandr Martynovich, Mikhail Sivakov, Maksim Volodko; Ivan Maevski, Alex Hleb (Anton Putilo 66), Stanislav Dragun; Pavel Savitski (Pavel Nekhaychik 85), Denis Laptev, Igor Stasevich;

Subs not used: Anton Chichkan, Anton Chichkan, Aleksei Rios, Anton Saroka, Sergei Kislyak, Yuri Kendysh, Zakhar Volkov, Mikalay Signevich. 

Booked: Denis Laptev (82).

Referee: Pawel Raczkowski (Poland)

Attendance: 18,188

Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Paddy McNair (Northern Ireland).


Northern Ireland
Bailey Peacock-Farrell
Goalkeeper
Jonny Evans
30Scored: 30'
Defender
Stuart Dallas
Defender
Craig Cathcart
Defender
Jamal Lewis
Defender
Steven Davis
Midfielder
Patrick McNair
Midfielder
George Saville
Midfielder
Kyle Lafferty
79'
79Subbed Off: 79'
Forward
Jordan Jones
85'
85Subbed Off: 85'
85'
85Subbed Off: 85'
Forward
Niall McGinn
68'
68Subbed Off: 68'
Forward

Substitutes
Aaron Hughes
Defender
Conor Hazard
Goalkeeper
Tom Flanagan
Defender
Shane Ferguson
85'
85Subbed On: 85'
85'
85Subbed On: 85'
Midfield
Liam Boyce
79'
79Subbed On: 79'
Forward
Josh Magennis
68'
68Subbed On: 68'
87Scored: 87'
Forward
Gareth McAuley
Defender
Michael McGovern
Goalkeeper
Conor McLaughlin
Defender
Paul Smyth
Forward
Jordan Thompson
Midfield
Conor Washington
Forward
Belarus
Andrey Klimovich
Goalkeeper
Maksim Volodko
Defender
Mikhail Sivakov
Defender
Igor Shitov
Defender 73'
73Subbed Off: 73'
Aleksandr Martynovich
Defender
Ivan Maevski
Midfielder
Alexander Hleb
Midfielder 66'
66Subbed Off: 66'
Stanislav Dragun
Midfielder
Igor Stasevich
Forward
33Scored: 33'
Pavel Savitski
Forward 85'
85Subbed Off: 85'
Denis Laptev
Forward
82Booked: 82'

Substitutes
Zakhar Volkov
Defender
Nikolai Signevich
Forward
Anton Saroka
Midfield
Aleksej Rios
Midfield
Anton Putilo
Midfield
66Subbed On: 66'
66'
Denis Polyakov
Defender
73Subbed On: 73'
73'
Pavel Nyakhaychyk
Midfield
85Subbed On: 85'
85'
Yurij Kovalev
Midfield
Syarhey Kislyak
Midfield
Yuri Kendysh
Midfield
Andrei Gorbunov
Goalkeeper
Anton Chichkan
Goalkeeper