Saturday 21 April 2018

Northern Ireland v New Zealand - story of the match

Liam Boyce scored his first international goal
Liam Boyce scored his first international goal

Liam Boyce scored his first Northern Ireland goal in the win over New Zealand to stake his claim for a starting berth in next week's World Cup qualifier in Azerbaijan.

Fresh from netting 23 times in the Ladbrokes Premiership to finish as that division's top scorer, Boyce carried his form into the international arena with a sixth-minute strike that earned Michael O'Neill's side a 1-0 success over the All Whites in Belfast.

This was a warm-up for the visit to Baku, which both Conor Washington and fellow forward Jamie Ward will miss, and O'Neill now heads there with fewer concerns over his attacking options thanks to Boyce's 45-minute cameo in Belfast.


"Happy for Liam Boyce getting his first @NorthernIreland goal. Keep them coming fella" - former world champion Carl Frampton shows his appreciation for Boyce.


Jonny Evans. The captain-for-the-night was typically imperious as O'Neill's men kept another clean sheet, with debutant Tom Flanagan also impressing alongside him in the back three.


The decision for O'Neill in Azerbaijan is seemingly whether he starts the in-form Boyce or the dependable Kyle Lafferty. Both were given 45 minutes here but it was Boyce who made the biggest impact and must surely now earn the nod in Baku.


Burton defender Flanagan became the 50th player to earn a cap under Michael O'Neill in his five-and-a-bit years at the helm.

Northern Ireland

Michael McGovern 6/10

Conor McLaughlin 7

Jonny Evans 8

Tom Flanagan 8

Aaron Hughes 7

Stuart Dallas 6

Chris Brunt 6

Oliver Norwood 6

Matthew Lund 7

Josh Magennis 7

Liam Boyce 8


Kyle Lafferty (on for Boyce) 6

Steven Davis (on for Lund) 7

Shane Ferguson (on for Brunt) 6

Paul Paton (on for Dallas) 6

Shay McCartan (on for Magennis) 6

Roy Carroll (on for McGovern) 6


Azerbaijan v Northern Ireland (World Cup qualifier, June 10)

Belarus v New Zealand (Friendly, June 12)

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