Northern Ireland are just one step away from securing a Women’s Euro 2022 qualifying play-off spot after a thrilling 3-2 victory over Belarus at Seaview Stadium on Friday night, writes Josh Bunting.
A win against the Faroe Islands in Belfast on Tuesday will secure Northern Ireland’s first ever play-off for a major tournament.
Northern Ireland started in perfect fashion as they took the lead through Kirsty McGuinness, with a stunning strike from just outside the area into the top corner.
Kenny Shiels side then thought they had their second when Rachel Furness fired it across goal and Belarus stopper Nataliya Voskobovich spilled the loose ball and it came desperately close to creeping over the line.
Anastasiya Schcherbachenya equalised for the visitors when she raced onto a long ball and fired beyond Becky Flaherty, who had raced off her line.
Following a spell of real dominance from Northern Ireland, a penalty was won and Rachel Furness sent Voskobovich the wrong way to restore the lead.
They weren’t ahead for long as Belarus equalised six minutes later, Anna Pilipenko playing a through ball into the path of Schcherbachenya who slotted in her second of the night.
But when McGuinness fired a powerful effort towards goal, it hit the woodwork and bounced in off Voskobovich for a final score of 3-2.
💬 “We know we need to win and we won’t take our foot off the pedal”@KirstyMcG11 was delighted to play a vital part in the winning goal against Belarus 👇🏻 #GAWA @ElecIrelandNI #GameChangersNI pic.twitter.com/FLsy2Ss1Rl
— Northern Ireland (@NorthernIreland) November 27, 2020
Northern Ireland: Flaherty, Vance (Magee, 76), Nelson, Hutton, McCarron, Callaghan, McGuinness (Kelly, 89), Furness, Wade, Caldwell, Wilson (Sherwood, 86).
Belarus: Voskobovich, Linnik, Shlapakova (Krasnova, 78), Schcherbachenya, Novikova, Kazakevich, Kozyupa, Kharlanova (Olkhovik, 46) , Schuppo, Bohdan, Pilipenko (Kubichnaya, 78)
Northern Ireland Women’s mainland-based players hoping to help make history