International Friendlies
Northern Ireland3Belarus0

Northern Ireland 3-0 Belarus

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Northern Ireland enjoyed the perfect send-off to Euro 2016 by beating Belarus 3-0

Strikers Kyle Lafferty, Conor Washington and Will Grigg scored as Northern Ireland saw off Belarus in their last home match before Euro 2016.

Lafferty, lacking game time at club level, got his 17th international goal with a close-range finish.

QPR's Washington pounced on a mistake by keeper Andrei Harbunov to head home the second just before half-time.

Substitute Grigg rifled a late third to cap the convincing win and extend his side's record unbeaten run to 11 games.

NI punish Belarus mistakes

Conor Washington is congratulated by fellow goalscorer Kyle Lafferty at Windsor Park
Conor Washington is congratulated by fellow goalscorer Kyle Lafferty at Windsor Park

Michael O'Neill's men have a final warm-up game away to Slovakia on 4 June before heading to France for a first-ever appearance at the European Championship finals.

O'Neill was keen to keep momentum going by avoiding defeat at Windsor Park.

He will also be relieved that his players appear to have come through this game without any injury problems.

Of course, Northern Ireland will face much tougher opposition in France than what was in front of them here.

Belarus made mistakes which were punished by goals, allowing Northern Ireland to sign off in Belfast on a celebratory note.

NI's final 23

Places in O'Neill's Euro 2016 were not up for grabs in this match as the manager made no secret of who the 23 will be when officially announced on Saturday.

Barring accidents, the 22 on duty tonight will be joined by Shane Ferguson after his involvement in Millwall's League One play-off final against Barnsley on Sunday.

The unlucky ones in the original 28-man panel are Liam Boyce, Billy McKay, Daniel Lafferty, Ben Reeves and Michael Smith and they were given the day off from training on Thursday.

Northern Ireland players complete a lap of honour as the fans give them a rousing send-off after the game at Windsor Park
Northern Ireland players complete a lap of honour as the fans give them a rousing send-off after the game at Windsor Park

O'Neill and players take fans' acclaim

After the match, the Northern Ireland players and manager O'Neill came back on to the pitch to loud cheers from the fans who had been asked to stay on to give their heroes a fitting send-off.

Taking the microphone, O'Neill said: "It is easy to support a team when they're doing well, but the true supporters stick by you when things are not going so good and you have always stood by us.

"This team is determined to make you proud. We will do everything in our power to make it a memorable summer for you."

O'Neill gave a special mention to West Brom's Chris Brunt who is missing the tournament because of injury.

A video was then played on the large screen, showing highlights of Northern Ireland's group winning exploits which clinched qualification for France.

Then came a fireworks display - Belfast's Windsor Park had never witnessed such scenes.

Man of the match - Paddy McNair

Manchester United's Paddy McNair produced a composed performance
Manchester United's Paddy McNair produced a composed performance

The versatile 21-year-old Manchester United defender may not be in Michael O'Neill's first 11, but did his prospects the power of good with an impressive and assured performance.

What they said

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill: "It was a great performance and a great result. We were able to play about with things a bit and it was a perfect night for us.

"I want players to show some flexibility and show the ability to change when necessary and that's what they showed tonight.

"Paddy McNair was outstanding throughout, while Conor has scored two in three games to make a big statement. It was great to see Will (Grigg) get on the scoresheet too.

"Unfortunately I've had to whittle the squad down to 23 and I've informed the five players who will not be going with us. They have all made a big contribution already and hopefully all of them still have a big international future ahead of them."

What's next?

Having been a given a rousing send-off by a delighted Belfast support, Northern Ireland will play their final warm-up match away to Slovakia on Saturday, 4 June.

Then it is on to their Euro 2016 base near Lyon to prepare for the opening Group C fixture which is against Poland in Nice on 12 June.

Line-ups

Northern Ireland

  • 1CarrollSubstituted forMannusat 45'minutes
  • 2McLaughlin
  • 20Cathcart
  • 6Baird
  • 5EvansBooked at 60mins
  • 13EvansSubstituted forMcGinnat 74'minutes
  • 17McNair
  • 14DallasSubstituted forHughesat 74'minutes
  • 8DavisSubstituted forNorwoodat 45'minutes
  • 10LaffertySubstituted forGriggat 61'minutes
  • 11WashingtonSubstituted forWardat 60'minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Hodson
  • 4McAuley
  • 7McGinn
  • 9Grigg
  • 12Mannus
  • 15McCullough
  • 16Norwood
  • 18Hughes
  • 19Ward
  • 21Magennis
  • 23McGovern

Belarus

  • 22Gorbunov
  • 4ShitovSubstituted forPalitsevichat 78'minutes
  • 3MartynovichBooked at 64mins
  • 21FilipenkoSubstituted forSivakovat 38'minutesBooked at 81mins
  • 17Volodko
  • 7Korzun
  • 15KislyakBooked at 60mins
  • 11Gordeychuk
  • 14KrivetsSubstituted forHlebat 60'minutes
  • 9StasevichSubstituted forNekhajchikat 89'minutes
  • 23YanushSubstituted forPolyakovat 72'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Klimovich
  • 5Polyakov
  • 6Palitsevich
  • 10Hleb
  • 12Chernik
  • 13Nekhajchik
  • 20Sivakov
Referee:
Martin Atkinson

Match Stats

Home TeamNorthern IrelandAway TeamBelarus
Possession
Home38%
Away62%
Shots
Home9
Away5
Shots on Target
Home4
Away1
Corners
Home4
Away2
Fouls
Home13
Away17

Live Text

Match ends, Northern Ireland 3, Belarus 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Northern Ireland 3, Belarus 0.

Foul by Denis Polyakov (Belarus).

Niall McGinn (Northern Ireland) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Goal!

Goal! Northern Ireland 3, Belarus 0. William Grigg (Northern Ireland) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Jamie Ward with a headed pass.

Corner, Northern Ireland. Conceded by Mikhail Sivakov.

Foul by Nikita Korzun (Belarus).

Patrick McNair (Northern Ireland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Denis Polyakov (Belarus).

Niall McGinn (Northern Ireland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Booking

Mikhail Sivakov (Belarus) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Mikhail Sivakov (Belarus).

William Grigg (Northern Ireland) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Substitution

Substitution, Belarus. Sergei Palitsevich replaces Igor Shitov.

Hand ball by Jamie Ward (Northern Ireland).

Igor Shitov (Belarus) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by William Grigg (Northern Ireland).

Substitution

Substitution, Northern Ireland. Aaron Hughes replaces Stuart Dallas.

Substitution

Substitution, Northern Ireland. Niall McGinn replaces Corry Evans.

Substitution

Substitution, Belarus. Denis Polyakov replaces Nikolay Yanush.

Igor Shitov (Belarus) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jamie Ward (Northern Ireland).

Foul by Nikita Korzun (Belarus).

Jonny Evans (Northern Ireland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Aliaksandr Hleb (Belarus) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Patrick McNair (Northern Ireland).

Attempt saved. William Grigg (Northern Ireland) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Oliver Norwood with a cross.

Foul by Igor Stasevich (Belarus).

Corry Evans (Northern Ireland) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Booking

Aleksandr Martynovich (Belarus) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Aleksandr Martynovich (Belarus).

William Grigg (Northern Ireland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Maksim Volodko (Belarus) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Oliver Norwood (Northern Ireland).

Attempt missed. Chris Baird (Northern Ireland) header from the right side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Oliver Norwood following a set piece situation.

Substitution

Substitution, Northern Ireland. William Grigg replaces Kyle Lafferty.

Substitution

Substitution, Northern Ireland. Jamie Ward replaces Conor Washington.

Substitution

Substitution, Belarus. Aliaksandr Hleb replaces Sergei Krivets.

Booking

Jonny Evans (Northern Ireland) is shown the yellow card.

Booking

Sergei Kislyak (Belarus) is shown the yellow card.

goal

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Friday 27th May 2016

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