Match ends, Romania 2, Northern Ireland 0.
- Northern Ireland suffer first qualifying defeat
- Romania move one point clear at top of group
- First Euro qualifier between the sides
- Papp makes it five goals in 13 internationals
Northern Ireland's three-game winning run in their Euro 2016 qualifiers ended as Romania won in Bucharest to go top of Group F.
Full-back Paul Papp scored both goals, firing into the top corner in the 73rd minute and stealing in to convert a back-post header.
Chris Brunt went close early on but Alexandru Chipciu hit the bar and Bogdan Stancu missed from close range.
Northern Ireland slipped to second in the group, one point behind Romania.
Romania began the first European Championship qualifying meeting between the sides hoping to avoid a repeat of their only previous competitive home match with Northern Ireland, a World Cup qualifier in October, 1985, which they lost 1-0.
Michael O'Neill's Northern Ireland went into the game full of confidence but without several injured players, including skipper Steven Davis.
Anghel Iordanescu was beginning his third spell as Romania coach following the departure of Victor Piturca, who left to take up a lucrative deal with Saudi Arabian side Ittihad last month.
The hosts, also without several first-choice regulars, began brightly and a bicycle kick by out-of-favour Tottenham defender Vlad Chiriches was gathered by Roy Carroll.
|Northern Ireland's remaining Euro 2016 Group F qualifiers|
|Finland (home)||Sunday, 29 March 2015|
|Romania (home)||Saturday, 13 June 2015|
|Faroe Islands (away)||Friday, 4 September 2015|
|Hungary (home)||Monday, 7 September 2015|
|Greece (home)||Thursday, 8 October 2015|
|Finland (away)||Sunday, 11 October 2015|
A minute later Brunt's low left-foot shot went just wide of the left-hand post, before Chipciu shot against the underside of the bar and then headed straight at Carroll.
With Romania assuming control, Lucian Sanmartaen picked up the ball on the halfway line and waltzed through the visitors' defence, only for Stancuto to lose his footing with the goal gaping.
Kyle Lafferty had a shot palmed away by Ciprian Tatarusanu and, after the break, Carroll stood up well to deny Romania captain Razvan Rat.
Northern Ireland were finally broken down when Papp drove a left-footed shot into the top right-hand corner after Gareth McAuley failed to clear a cross, and the right-back sealed victory six minutes later when he met a left-wing cross.
Hungary beat Finland 1-0 to move third in the group, two points behind Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland's next game is against Finland at Windsor Park on 29 March, when Romania entertain the Faroe Islands.
- 8PintiliiBooked at 47mins
- 11TorjeSubstituted forHobanat 81'minutes
- 7ChipciuBooked at 75mins
- 10TanaseSubstituted forMaximat 58'minutesBooked at 77mins
- 9StancuSubstituted forKeseruat 45'minutes
- 23Lung Jr.
- 2McLaughlinBooked at 45mins
- 7McGinnSubstituted forClinganat 63'minutes
- 13EvansSubstituted forMckayat 79'minutes
- 10LaffertyBooked at 52mins
- Jonas Eriksson
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Romania 2, Northern Ireland 0.
Attempt missed. Oliver Norwood (Northern Ireland) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.
Attempt blocked. Chris Brunt (Northern Ireland) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Billy McKay.
Attempt missed. Claudiu Keseru (Romania) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Lucian Sanmartean.
Corner, Romania. Conceded by Ryan McGivern.
Foul by Alexandru Maxim (Romania).
Aaron Hughes (Northern Ireland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Substitution, Romania. Ovidiu Hoban replaces Gabriel Torje.
Goal! Romania 2, Northern Ireland 0. Paul Papp (Romania) header from the right side of the six yard box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Lucian Sanmartean with a cross.
Substitution, Northern Ireland. Billy McKay replaces Corry Evans.
Alexandru Maxim (Romania) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Alexandru Maxim (Romania).
Chris Brunt (Northern Ireland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Lucian Sanmartean (Romania) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Chris Baird (Northern Ireland).
Goal! Romania 1, Northern Ireland 0. Paul Papp (Romania) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the top left corner.
Corner, Romania. Conceded by Conor McLaughlin.
Corner, Romania. Conceded by Chris Brunt.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.