World Cup Qualifying - European - Group C
San Marino0Northern Ireland3

World Cup 2018: San Marino 0-3 Northern Ireland

Steven Davis fires through a crowded penalty area in the first half
Steven Davis fires through a crowded penalty area in the first half

Josh Magennis was on target twice as Northern Ireland scored three goals in eight second-half minutes to see off a stubborn San Marino 3-0 in Serravalle.

Steven Davis netted a penalty as his side moved within a point of securing second place in Group C, which could clinch a play-off for a World Cup spot.

After a nervous first 70 minutes, Magennis side-footed in the opener and then headed home from close range.

Davis's goal ensured NI have won four games in a row for the first time ever.

Northern Ireland now need just a draw from their next match against the Czech Republic in Belfast on Monday to seal the group runners-up spot after the Czechs lost 2-1 at home to Germany.

The Germans head the table on 21 points, with Northern Ireland second on 16 and the Czech Republic on nine.

Norway beat Azerbaijan in Friday's other game in the group but neither side are in contention for qualification as they both lie on seven points from seven fixtures.

Michael O'Neill's side have now won their last four qualifiers and have kept clean sheets in four successive games for the first time in 31 years as they bid to make the World Cup finals for the first time since Mexico 1986.

Conor Washington and Juri Biordi in action during the first half
Conor Washington and Juri Biordi in action during the first half

First-half frustration

The visitors set out with an attacking formation, in contrast to their opponents, who fielded five defenders and four midfielders in a bid to avoid a repeat of the 4-0 reverse they suffered when the sides met at Windsor Park last October.

Northern Ireland had scored 11 in their previous three clashes with San Marino but passed up a series of chances in the first half as they struggled to control the ball on a difficult, uneven playing surface.

Ranked 181 places above their hosts in the Fifa world rankings, Northern Ireland predictably dominated possession and territory in the opening period but were unable to break down San Marino's defences.

Skipper Davis was off target with a shot and a header and saw another effort blocked by defender Davide Simoncini.

Oliver Norwood glanced a header wide, while Magennis twice went close before seeing his glancing header from a corner cannon off the inside of the post and run to safety a minute before the break.

Conor Washington, paired with Kyle Lafferty up front, had a drive palmed away by Aldo Simoncini and then dragged a left-foot shot wide of the post with the goal gaping.

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NI boss Michael O'Neill praised the 'calmness' of his players

Magennis' goals ease NI nerves

With Northern Ireland struggling after the interval, O'Neill's introduction of Shane Ferguson at the expense of the ineffective Lafferty saw Magennis switched from the right flank into a central striking role, a move which proved the catalyst for the long-awaited breakthrough.

Magennis, who has scored goals for Charlton Athletic in consecutive league games against Northampton and Rotherham, notched his second international goal to deliver relief among the 2,500 travelling supporters.

The forward saw his initial header from Chris Brunt's left-wing cross denied by Simoncini but was on hand to fire home after Davis squared the ball back to him inside the area.

Washington provided the delivery for the former Kilmarnock forward to nod in his second of the night on his 30th appearance five minutes later.

Davis's spot-kick, after a handball by Giovanni Bonini, extended the margin of victory and ensures that Northern Ireland head into their next game with confidence.

For the Southampton midfielder it was his 10th international goal and his third against San Marino, the captain having also found the net in the 4-0 victories in World Cup qualifiers in October 2008 and October 2016.

Man of the match

Josh Magennis
Josh Magennis completed an impressive performance by scoring two second-half goals

Line-ups

San Marino

  • 1Simoncini
  • 4BiordiBooked at 66minsSubstituted forVitaioliat 67'minutes
  • 6SimonciniBooked at 63minsSubstituted forGasperoniat 76'minutes
  • 21Palazzi
  • 8BoniniBooked at 77mins
  • 14Cervellini
  • 13Battistini
  • 10Grandoni
  • 17BerardiSubstituted forGolinucciat 81'minutes
  • 16Rinaldi
  • 18BernardiBooked at 53mins

Substitutes

  • 2Cesarini
  • 3D'Addario
  • 5Vitaioli
  • 7Gasperoni
  • 9Stefanelli
  • 11Berretti
  • 12Muraccini
  • 15Cevoli
  • 19Tosi
  • 20Golinucci
  • 22Tomassini
  • 23Manzaroli

Northern Ireland

  • 1McGovern
  • 2McLaughlin
  • 18Hughes
  • 5Evans
  • 11Brunt
  • 21Magennis
  • 16Norwood
  • 8Davis
  • 14DallasSubstituted forMcGinnat 78'minutes
  • 9WashingtonSubstituted forEvansat 78'minutes
  • 10LaffertySubstituted forFergusonat 61'minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Ferguson
  • 4Flanagan
  • 6Hodson
  • 7McGinn
  • 12Mannus
  • 13Evans
  • 15Paton
  • 17McLaughlin
  • 19McCartan
  • 20Lafferty
  • 22Thompson
  • 23Carroll
Referee:
Enea Jorgji
Attendance:
2,544

Match Stats

Home TeamSan MarinoAway TeamNorthern Ireland
Possession
Home22%
Away78%
Shots
Home1
Away31
Shots on Target
Home0
Away9
Corners
Home0
Away11
Fouls
Home14
Away10

Live Text

Match ends, San Marino 0, Northern Ireland 3.

Full Time

Second Half ends, San Marino 0, Northern Ireland 3.

Attempt missed. Chris Brunt (Northern Ireland) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Steven Davis.

Oliver Norwood (Northern Ireland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Michael Battistini (San Marino).

Foul by Shane Ferguson (Northern Ireland).

Alessandro Golinucci (San Marino) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Offside, Northern Ireland. Chris Brunt tries a through ball, but Shane Ferguson is caught offside.

Attempt missed. Oliver Norwood (Northern Ireland) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Chris Brunt with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Northern Ireland. Conceded by Fabio Vitaioli.

Foul by Josh Magennis (Northern Ireland).

Fabio Vitaioli (San Marino) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Conor McLaughlin (Northern Ireland) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Marco Bernardi (San Marino).

Attempt saved. Corry Evans (Northern Ireland) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Steven Davis.

Foul by Conor McLaughlin (Northern Ireland).

Danilo Rinaldi (San Marino) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, San Marino. Alessandro Golinucci replaces Filippo Berardi.

Goal!

Goal! San Marino 0, Northern Ireland 3. Steven Davis (Northern Ireland) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom left corner.

Substitution

Substitution, Northern Ireland. Corry Evans replaces Conor Washington.

Substitution

Substitution, Northern Ireland. Niall McGinn replaces Stuart Dallas.

Booking

Giovanni Bonini (San Marino) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Penalty conceded by Alex Gasperoni (San Marino) with a hand ball in the penalty area.

Substitution

Substitution, San Marino. Alex Gasperoni replaces Davide Simoncini.

Goal!

Goal! San Marino 0, Northern Ireland 2. Josh Magennis (Northern Ireland) header from very close range to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Conor Washington.

Attempt saved. Chris Brunt (Northern Ireland) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Oliver Norwood with a through ball.

Attempt saved. Josh Magennis (Northern Ireland) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Conor Washington.

Goal!

Goal! San Marino 0, Northern Ireland 1. Josh Magennis (Northern Ireland) right footed shot from very close range to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Steven Davis.

Attempt saved. Josh Magennis (Northern Ireland) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Chris Brunt with a cross.

Attempt missed. Oliver Norwood (Northern Ireland) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Chris Brunt.

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

Foul by Marco Bernardi (San Marino).

Aaron Hughes (Northern Ireland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Danilo Rinaldi (San Marino).

Attempt saved. Steven Davis (Northern Ireland) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Chris Brunt.

Substitution

Substitution, San Marino. Fabio Vitaioli replaces Juri Biordi.

Booking

Juri Biordi (San Marino) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Shane Ferguson (Northern Ireland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Juri Biordi (San Marino).

Foul by Josh Magennis (Northern Ireland).

goal

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Friday 1st September 2017

View all World Cup Qualifying - European results

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1France75111551016
2Sweden7412147713
3Bulgaria74031214-212
4Netherlands73131310310
5Belarus7124412-85
6Luxembourg7115717-104

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Switzerland77001531221
2Portugal76012742318
3Hungary7313118310
4Faroe Islands7124315-125
5Andorra7115216-144
6Latvia7106315-123

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Germany77002922721
2Northern Ireland75111421216
3Czech Rep723210739
4Norway7214810-27
5Azerbaijan7214311-87
6San Marino7007133-320

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Serbia6330137612
2R. of Ireland633084412
3Wales61509548
4Austria62229818
5Georgia6033610-43
6Moldova6024415-112

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Poland75111511416
2Montenegro74121771013
3Denmark7412146813
4Romania72328719
5Armenia7205715-86
6Kazakhstan7025419-152

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1England75201421217
2Slovakia7502134915
3Scotland73221210211
4Slovenia732264211
5Lithuania7124614-85
6Malta7007219-170

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Spain65102131816
2Italy65101841416
3Albania630378-19
4Israel6303912-39
5Macedonia6105813-53
6Liechtenstein6006124-230

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Belgium76103323119
2Greece7340103713
3Bos-Herze7322158711
4Cyprus7313811-310
5Estonia7124517-125
6Gibraltar7007333-300

I

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Croatia6411112913
2Iceland641196313
3Turkey6321116511
4Ukraine632195411
5Finland6015410-61
6Kosovo6015318-151
View full World Cup Qualifying - European tables

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