Let’s see the Player Ratings of the EURO 2021 Qualification battle between Northern Ireland and Slovakia at Windsor Park.
Slovakia put on a thumping show to snatch Northern Ireland’s hopes of qualifying to the European Championship for the second consecutive time. As Michal Duris’ extra-time effort helped Slovakia beat the hosts by 2-1 at Windsor Park. It was a heartbreaking loss for the men in green, more so because this was the only game in the tournament where 1060 fans were allowed to watch the action.
It was a rather slow start from Ian Barraclough’s side following their two Nations League defeats from last month. And the visitors took advantage of the poor defensive midfield of Northern Ireland, as Juraj Kuckar scored the opener for Slovakia in the 17th minute. The Parma star took advantage of a crude backward header from George Saville only to see himself run in the penalty box to finish it past Bailey Peacock-Farrell.
The super-sub seals the deal for Slovakia in the extra-time.
The second half gained some momentum for the hosts, however, an own goal brought back Northern Ireland in the game. Three minutes before full-time, Paddy McNair’s low square ball was deflected in the back of the net by Milan Skriniar. The Inter Milan defender was left helpless as the powering low cross hit him only to end up in the roof of the net.
The battle progressed to the extra-time with both the nations locking each other on the 90th-minute mark. But this was clearly not Northern Ireland’s day, as super-substitution Duris glided home the late winner in the 110th minute. An unsatisfactory defensive performance for the hosts cost them a massive blow. This triumph means that Slovakia has qualified for two successive times for the European competition.
Northern Ireland: Peacock-Farrell (4), Cathcart (6), Evans (3), Dallas (7), Lewis (6), Saville (4), Davis (4), McGinn (6), McGennis (4), McNair (5), Washington (5).
Bench: Thompson (5), Lafferty (6), Boyce (4), Flanagan (6), Ferguson (5), Whyte (6).
Slovakia: Rodak (8), Satka (6), Skriniar (4), Pekarik (6), Hubocan (6), Lobotka (7), Rusnak (3), Kucka (8), Hamsik (5), Mak (5), Duda (5).
Bench: Hrosovsky (7), Mraz (5), Duris (9), Gregus (6).
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