European Championship Qualifying - Group F
Northern IrelandNorthern Ireland2Faroe IslandsFaroe Islands0

Northern Ireland 2-0 Faroe Islands

By Richard PetrieBBC Sport NI
Northern Ireland players congratulate Kyle Lafferty on his 11th international goal
Northern Ireland players congratulate Kyle Lafferty on his 11th international goal
  • NI play first home game for 13 months
  • Stadium reconstruction means reduced capacity of 10,000
  • Faroes took one point from recent World Cup qualifiers
  • NI make it four wins from 33 matches

Northern Ireland beat the Faroe Islands to make it two wins from two games and move to the top of Euro 2016 qualifying Group F - their best start to any campaign since 1968.

Gareth McAuley got on the end of Chris Baird's headed knock-on from a corner to fire a low shot home on six minutes.

Kyle Lafferty added the second when he flicked in after running onto Shane Ferguson's well-executed delivery.

Roy Carroll saved Frodi Benjaminsen's penalty 10 minutes before half-time.

The victory means Michael O'Neill's side travel to face Greece on Tuesday with a perfect record, having beaten Hungary in their opener last month.

O'Neill happy with two wins from two

Northern Ireland had been held to a draw twice in four previous meetings with the Faroes but a sixth win in 41 competitive games always looked on the cards thanks to two goals in the opening 20 minutes.

McAuley's drilled right-foot effort for his fifth international goal was just reward for the hosts' early pressure and Lafferty almost made it two, but the Norwich striker was unable to make enough contact with Ferguson's fine right-foot cross from the left.

Conor McLaughlin's cheeky back-heel from a corner was saved by Gunnar Nielsen and home skipper Steven Davis twice fired over the bar.

Lafferty chalked up his 11th goal for his country and, soon after, Jamie Ward's long-range right-foot effort whistled wide of the target.

Northern Ireland lie 108 places ahead of their opponents in the Fifa rankings and their superiority was emphasised as they continued to lay siege on the visitors' goal.

Lafferty was denied by a diving save from Nielsen, Niall McGinn tested the goalkeeper with a drilled attempt and the impressive Lafferty also headed just wide.

The Faroes had an opportunity to reduce their deficit when Ferguson brought down Joan Edmundsson inside the area, but Carroll dived low to his left to push Benjaminsen's spot-kick onto the post.

The second half was a tepid affair and O'Neill's charges could only conjure up a couple of chances, Nielsen palming an Oliver Norwood piledriver onto the bar and defender McLaughlin skewing a great chance wide.

Brighton winger Pat McCourt, the two-goal hero when the sides last met in Belfast in August 2012, was unable to make the same impact after being introduced as a substitute.

Lars Olsen's outfit remain pointless, while Northern Ireland are two points clear of Finland and Romania, who drew 1-1 with Greece and Hungary respectively.

Chris Brunt is not expected to make the trip to Greece after being ruled out of Saturday's match in Belfast with a groin injury sustained in training.

Belfast's IBF world bantamweight champion Carl Frampton took the acclaim of the Windsor Park crowd
Belfast's IBF world bantamweight champion Carl Frampton took the acclaim of the Windsor Park crowd before the game
Michael O'Neill's side won just one of their 10 World Cup qualifiers - a 1-0 home victory over Russia
Michael O'Neill's side won just one of their 10 World Cup qualifiers - a 1-0 home victory over Russia
Gareth McAuley set Northern Ireland on their way with his fifth international goal
Gareth McAuley set Northern Ireland on their way with his fifth international goal
Pat McCourt was unable to repeat his two-goal salvo against the Faroes the last time the sides met in Belfast but Roy Carroll made a fine penalty save
Pat McCourt was unable to repeat his two-goal salvo against the Faroes the last time the sides met in Belfast but Roy Carroll made a fine penalty save

Line-ups

Northern Ireland

  • 1Carroll
  • 2McLaughlin
  • 4McAuleySubstituted forMcCulloughat 56'minutes
  • 18Hughes
  • 17FergusonBooked at 36mins
  • 6Baird
  • 19Ward
  • 8Davis
  • 16Norwood
  • 7McGinnSubstituted forMcCourtat 67'minutes
  • 10LaffertySubstituted forMagennisat 84'minutes

Substitutes

  • 3McGivern
  • 5McCullough
  • 9Mckay
  • 12Mannus
  • 13Evans
  • 14Clingan
  • 15McCourt
  • 20McLaughlin
  • 21Magennis
  • 22Reeves
  • 23McGovern

Faroe Islands

  • 1Nielsen
  • 2Thór NaesBooked at 15mins
  • 4Gregersen
  • 5Nattestad
  • 3Davidsen
  • 7Benjaminsen
  • 6Hansson
  • 16Edmundsson
  • 10HolstSubstituted forOlsenat 82'minutes
  • 13JustinussenSubstituted forBartalsstovuat 90+1'minutes
  • 11KlettskardSubstituted forHansenat 75'minutes

Substitutes

  • 8Hanssen
  • 9Sorensen
  • 12Matras Gestsson
  • 14Mellemgaard
  • 15Baldvinsson
  • 17Vatnsdal
  • 18Olsen
  • 19Bartalsstovu
  • 20Jorgin Djurhuus
  • 21Hansen
  • 22Hansen
  • 23Thomsen
Referee:
Alon Yefet

Match Stats

Home TeamNorthern IrelandAway TeamFaroe Islands
Possession
Home60%
Away40%
Shots
Home27
Away4
Shots on Target
Home8
Away1
Corners
Home6
Away4
Fouls
Home14
Away13

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Northern Ireland 2, Faroe Islands 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Northern Ireland 2, Faroe Islands 0.

  3. Post update

    Foul by Paddy McCourt (Northern Ireland).

  4. Post update

    Hallur Hansson (Faroe Islands) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  5. Substitution

    Substitution, Faroe Islands. Kaj Leo i Bartalsstovu replaces Pol Johannus Justinussen.

  6. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Jamie Ward (Northern Ireland) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Shane Ferguson.

  7. Post update

    Offside, Northern Ireland. Oliver Norwood tries a through ball, but Jamie Ward is caught offside.

  8. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Hallur Hansson (Faroe Islands) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  9. Post update

    Foul by Conor McLaughlin (Northern Ireland).

  10. Post update

    Pol Johannus Justinussen (Faroe Islands) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  11. Post update

    Foul by Josh Magennis (Northern Ireland).

  12. Post update

    Sonni Nattestad (Faroe Islands) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  13. Post update

    Corner, Faroe Islands. Conceded by Oliver Norwood.

  14. Post update

    Corner, Faroe Islands. Conceded by Jamie Ward.

  15. Substitution

    Substitution, Northern Ireland. Josh Magennis replaces Kyle Lafferty.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Chris Baird (Northern Ireland).

  17. Post update

    Klaemint Olsen (Faroe Islands) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  18. Substitution

    Substitution, Faroe Islands. Klaemint Olsen replaces Christian Holst.

  19. Post update

    Attempt saved. Jamie Ward (Northern Ireland) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

  20. Post update

    Kyle Lafferty (Northern Ireland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.