Czech Rep vs N Ireland
6:00pm Monday 14th October
As Northern Ireland withstood a second-half fightback in Czech Republic to capture an impressive 3-2 friendly win in Prague, paddy McNair scored twice.
Michael ONeills side were great value because of their 3-0 half-time contribute as McNairs clinical opener (9) was introduced to by Jonny Evans later Czech Republic didnt clean out some set-piece (23).
McNair raced onto Steven Davis pass to sweep at a third to the people (40), but afterwards crumbling from the Netherlands, Northern Ireland were grateful for its final whistle after being pegged back in the second half.
The hosts enhanced dramatically following the break as quickfire goals from Vladimir Darida (67) and Alex Kral (68) threatened to spoil Northern Irelands nighttime, but there wouldnt be any replica of Rotterdam.
ONeill had neglected to register a win in some of his previous 12 away friendlies as Northern Ireland manager, but afterwards Ronald Koeman labelled his sides approach asdreadful to watch, this was lucky number 13 and the perfect riposte.
Regardless of the euphoria of ending Englands 43-game unbeaten run in World Cup and Euro qualifiers on Friday, there were lots of empty chairs around the Generali Arena – which proved a case of after the Lord Mayors series for the Czechs, who made 10 changes.
The visitors survived an early scare when a clearance from Evans enabled Josef Husbauer to cross for Radim Reznik to go towards goal, however Michael McGovern – on his return to the side – kept his campaign out from six yards.
However, it was ONeills men, experimentation with a 3-5-2 formation – that broke the deadlock as McNair struck in the ninth minute, latching on to the low cross of Liam Boyce and beating on his own guy.
Plus it was 2-0 in the 23rd minute after a corner caused chaos at the Czech Republic box. Tom Flanagans attempt was blocked but the ball fell to fire in the roof of the internet.
Gavin Whyte was refused at sea all from close range. The hosts squandered their best chance of the first half since Kral conquer on McLaughlin on the left and pulled the ball back to Michael Krmencik, however he could not find the target.
And things got worse in the 40th minute to the Czechs as Davis slid the ball from inside his own half and McNair driven towards target , coolly rounding thekeeper before slotting home.
Zdenek Ondrasek, the scourge of all England, arrived at the break and that he revitalised the Czech attack, however, Craig Cathcart made a good block to deny him moments after Ladislav Krejci saw his shot kept outside by McGovern, a impact.
Jan Kopic for yet another chance put up ondrasek about the hour-mark, however, the substitute fired wide as the hosts continued to show increased urgency, and Northern Ireland were undone twice in the space of 2 minutes.
The side of jaroslav Silhavy decreased the deficit once Darida shot through a crowded box has been too sexy for McGovern. And Kral strode forward and struck on a second until Northern Ireland could draw breath.
But after devoting two goals Northern Ireland held their nerve in the four minutes that were additional to succeed at which England failed.
Former Northern Ireland defender Gareth McAuley told SSN…
It was about the result tonight, really. They showed determination, grit and a lot of heart.
It is the first away friendly which we have won in 13 games so that its a huge outcome, particularly after the other night.
The four replacements changed the game and made a large difference to the team. They awakened us back and we defended to most of the second-half. It turned out to be a functionality that is dogged and one Michael will be quite proud with.
Northern Ireland now sponsor Netherlands on November 16 at Euro Qualifying group Cbefore a Visit to Germany on November 19, with both games kicking off at 7.45pm and then live on Sky Sports.
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