Sport Soccer

Monday 19 March 2018

Healy strikes late to rescue point for O'Neill


Northern Ireland's World Cup qualifying campaign lies in tatters despite record goalscorer David Healy securing a last-gasp equaliser against minnows Azerbaijan at Windsor Park.

Rauf Aliyev scored a screamer to give the Group F minnows a fifth-minute lead and Northern Ireland conspired to waste at least half a dozen glorious chances to equalise inside 90 minutes.

Craig Cathcart and Chris Baird spurned four of the best between them and it took Healy's first goal in four years, deep in added-time, to avert what would have been an embarrassing defeat.

The result leaves Northern Ireland with three points from four games and all but out of the reckoning, as well as consigning last month's heroic draw in Portugal firmly to the history books.

Michael O'Neill started the evening by opting to leave one of his few established Premier League players on the bench, West Brom's Chris Brunt left out in favour of Shane Ferguson. Niall McGinn was looking to build on his goalscoring heroics against Portugal, however, it was veteran Healy who found the net and spared O'Neill's blushes.

Irish Independent

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