Northern Ireland beat Belarus 1-0 away in a UEFA Women’s Euro qualifier, despite playing most of the match with 10 players.
Victory at the Dinamo Stadion moves Northern Ireland up to third in Group C, meaning they still have one eye on a potential play-off place for a coveted spot at the finals.
Furness’s goal – a bullet header and her third goal on the international stage in 2020 – arrived three minutes before the break and could not have come at a better time for Northern Ireland who
The Irish lost Jackie Burns after 27 minutes for a foul on Shcherbachenia, Becky Flaherty came on to replace her, with Kirsty McGuinness making way.
However, three minutes before the break, Rachel Furness rose to head home Demi Vance’s pinpoint corner.
Midway through the second half it was Furness who came close yet again when she rattled the crossbar with a cracking left-footed shot, having been played in thanks to an intelligent pass from Simone Magill.
Northern Ireland controlled large swathes of the second half but there was a late scare when Shuppo found space in the box only to angle her right-footed effort wide of the far post.
The return match is in Belfast on 27 November, with Faroe Islands then visiting on 1 December.
Northern Ireland manager Kenny Shiels told irishfa.com:
“We’ve claimed seven points from our last nine and momentum is starting to gather. We’ve two home games now and the match against Belarus will be difficult.
“They showed Northern Ireland spirit tonight, they dug in … and they have been training really, really hard to get into this position.
“We were more inventive than Belarus, we had more imagination than them. I’m not saying we’re a better team but on the night we displayed that skillset and we totally deserved to win the game.”