International Friendlies
SlovakiaSlovakia0Northern IrelandNorthern Ireland0

Slovakia 0-0 Northern Ireland

By Lyle JacksonBBC Sport
NI maintain unbeaten run ahead of Euro 2016 by drawing in Slovakia

Northern Ireland will go into Euro 2016 on the back of a record 12-match unbeaten run after drawing away to fellow finalists Slovakia in Trnava.

Former captain Aaron Hughes won his 100th cap as a 30th-minute substitute for defender Craig Cathcart who hobbled off injured after being fouled.

Cathcart was one of several players on the receiving end of tough tackles.

Visiting keeper Michael McGovern made some fine saves while Kyle Lafferty had a penalty claim turned down.

Northern Ireland's Euro 2016 Group C games
FixtureVenueDate & timeBBC coverage
v PolandNice12 June, 17:00 BSTBBC TV, BBC Radio 5 live
v UkraineLyon16 June, 17:00ITV, BBC Radio 5 live
v GermanyParis21 June, 17:00BBC TV, BBC Radio 5 live
Live text commentary on every game on BBC Sport website

Lafferty felt his shot had been blocked by Peter Pekarik's arm, but referee Marian Radu Petrescu did not see it as a spot-kick.

Robert Mak came the closest to scoring for the hosts only to be denied by Hamilton stopper McGovern who was quickly off his line, while Martin Skrtel almost scored a late own goal following a Paddy McNair cross.

The Liverpool defender diverted McNair's driven cross towards his own goal, and keeper Matus Kozacik was forced into a save.

Northern Ireland open their Euro campaign on 12 June against Poland in Nice, the day after Slovakia meet Wales in Bordeaux.

Cathcart and Lafferty injury concerns

One of Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill's chief concerns was to see his players come through unscathed with the opening Euro 2016 game against Poland just eight days away.

Worryingly for him, several key men were on the receiving end of some hefty challenges.

Aaron Hughes proud as he wins 100th Northern Ireland cap in Slovakia draw

Gareth McAuley and Jonny Evans picked up minor knocks before the other man in the back three, Watford defender Cathcart, had to limp off after being fouled.

That led to 36-year-old Hughes coming on to win his 100th cap as a 30th-minute substitute.

It had been expected the former Newcastle and Aston Villa man would come one at some point for his landmark appearance, but O'Neill was forced to make the change earlier than planned.

As well as Cathcart, O'Neill will await a fitness update on striker Lafferty who came off in the second half with a leg injury.

O'Neill's selection posers

Manager O'Neill deployed his favoured 3-5-2 formation, setting the team up in the way he will want them to play against Poland.

Paddy McNair caught the eye again in a wide role on the right while Millwall's Shane Ferguson came into the team to stake his claim for a starting role in Nice.

They appear to be competing with Conor McLaughlin and the absent Stuart Dallas for selection.

Any lingering doubts on who will be NI's first-choice keeper will have been ended by another solid display by McGovern.

The Northern Ireland squad head to their Lyon base on Sunday in good heart and with that record unbeaten sequence.

It was another outstanding defensive performance against a Slovakian side which had had defeated world champions Germany on 29 May.

Line-ups

Slovakia

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 23Kozácik
  • 2Pekarík
  • 3Skrtel
  • 4Durica
  • 18Svento
  • 19KuckaSubstituted forNemecat 84'minutes
  • 13Hrosovsky
  • 20MakSubstituted forStochat 65'minutes
  • 17Hamsik
  • 7Weiss
  • 21DurisSubstituted forDudaat 65'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Mucha
  • 5Gyömbér
  • 6Gregus
  • 8Duda
  • 9Sestak
  • 10Stoch
  • 11Nemec
  • 12Novota
  • 14Skriniar
  • 16Salata
  • 22Pecovsky

Northern Ireland

Formation 5-3-2

  • 1McGovern
  • 17McNairBooked at 49minsSubstituted forMcLaughlinat 90+1'minutes
  • 20CathcartSubstituted forHughesat 30'minutes
  • 4McAuley
  • 5Evans
  • 3FergusonSubstituted forHodsonat 86'minutes
  • 16NorwoodSubstituted forEvansat 84'minutes
  • 6Baird
  • 8Davis
  • 10LaffertySubstituted forWashingtonat 55'minutes
  • 19WardSubstituted forMagennisat 45'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2McLaughlin
  • 7McGinn
  • 9Grigg
  • 11Washington
  • 12Carroll
  • 13Evans
  • 15McCullough
  • 18Hughes
  • 21Magennis
  • 22Hodson
  • 23Mannus
Referee:
Radu Marian Petrescu

Match Stats

Home TeamSlovakiaAway TeamNorthern Ireland
Possession
Home71%
Away29%
Shots
Home17
Away4
Shots on Target
Home3
Away2
Corners
Home8
Away5
Fouls
Home9
Away10

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Slovakia 0, Northern Ireland 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Slovakia 0, Northern Ireland 0.

  3. Post update

    Corner, Northern Ireland. Conceded by Martin Skrtel.

  4. Post update

    Offside, Slovakia. Patrik Hrosovsky tries a through ball, but Vladimir Weiss is caught offside.

  5. Substitution

    Substitution, Northern Ireland. Conor McLaughlin replaces Patrick McNair.

  6. Post update

    Corner, Slovakia. Conceded by Gareth McAuley.

  7. Post update

    Attempt saved. Vladimir Weiss (Slovakia) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

  8. Substitution

    Substitution, Northern Ireland. Lee Hodson replaces Shane Ferguson.

  9. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Ondrej Duda (Slovakia) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  10. Post update

    Attempt missed. Miroslav Stoch (Slovakia) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Dusan Svento.

  11. Substitution

    Substitution, Slovakia. Adam Nemec replaces Juraj Kucka.

  12. Substitution

    Substitution, Northern Ireland. Corry Evans replaces Oliver Norwood.

  13. Post update

    Offside, Slovakia. Vladimir Weiss tries a through ball, but Peter Pekarík is caught offside.

  14. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Miroslav Stoch (Slovakia) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Marek Hamsik.

  15. Post update

    Corner, Slovakia. Conceded by Aaron Hughes.

  16. Post update

    Corner, Northern Ireland. Conceded by Jan Durica.

  17. Post update

    Attempt missed. Vladimir Weiss (Slovakia) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Dusan Svento.

  18. Post update

    Corner, Slovakia. Conceded by Gareth McAuley.

  19. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Marek Hamsik (Slovakia) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Miroslav Stoch.

  20. Post update

    Juraj Kucka (Slovakia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Saturday 4th June 2016

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