Azerbaijan shock N Ireland

Northern Ireland's misery on the road continued with a 2-0 World Cup qualifying loss to Azerbaijan in Baku.

Last Updated: 11/10/13 at 22:19 Post Comment

Northern Ireland: Slipped to another embarrassing defeat, this time to Azerbaija

Northern Ireland: Slipped to another embarrassing defeat, this time to Azerbaija

More of the games that matter

2 years free Sky Broadband Unlimited for Sky Sports customers

Michael O'Neill's side had taken just one point from a possible nine away from home going into the game and were made to pay for a host of missed chances when Rufat Dadashov fired home at the near post on 58 minutes.

Jonny Evans was then sent off in stoppage time for lashing out at Rauf Aliyev, with their misery compounded when Mahir Shukurov curled home the resultant free-kick with the last kick of the game in the Bakcell Arena.

Prior to that, Azerbaijan goalkeeper Kamran Agayev had to be at his best to deny two Chris Brunt drives as well as a Jamie Ward header, with Northern Ireland looking determined to erase the memories of their 3-2 defeat by minnows Luxembourg last time out.

However, they faded after the break and struggled to create much after Dadashov had opened the scoring, their best chance coming when Martin Paterson struck the angle of post and bar with two minutes left.

O'Neill's team-sheet contained a sizeable surprise, with a 3-5-2 formation on show for the first time in his reign.

Craig Cathcart was added to the usual defensive pairing of Evans and McAuley, while Lee Hodson and Shane Ferguson were asked to play as wing-backs.

A bad back pass from Rasim Ramaldanov in the eighth minutes allowed Paterson to pick up the ball 30 yards from goal but with few options ahead he shot wastefully over the bar.

Possession

The visitors quickly grabbed a hold on possession but it took 15 minutes to work the goalkeeper, Brunt with a rasping 25-yard drive after good hold-up play from Paterson.

Paterson and Hodson then linked down the right and when the latter's cross was headed out, Paterson scrapped to win the ball back at the edge of the penalty box.

His flat cross found Ward a couple of yards out in the centre of goal and his header pinged back off the keeper, who could have known little about it.

The frustration had barely subsided when Azerbaijan stretched Northern Ireland on the counter, leaving Vugar Nadirov a wonderful chance that he blasted wide from eight yards.

Azerbaijan went forward again, Cathcart badly misjudging an offside to allow Aliyev a free volley at the far post.

Luckily for the Blackpool man, Roy Carroll was alert enough to pull off a fine save.

Northern Ireland ended in the ascendance, but when Paterson muscled in behind the defence he dragged his shot wide across goal and the half-finished goalless.

Energy

Azerbaijan started the second period with greater energy, hustling in the midfield and pressing up when not in possession.

They might have been rewarded with a goal five minutes in but an errant finish from Dadasov and a marginal offside flag dashed their hopes.

Northern Ireland were becoming disjointed and soon picked up the first booking of the match, Norwood lunging at Aliyev and earning a suspension for Tuesday's game in Israel.

The resulting free-kick was parried by Carroll but Azerbaijan were ahead by the 58th minute.

Araz Abdullayev and Aliyev combined down the right before the latter slipped in Dadasov, who prodded his shot home first time.

While Northern Ireland's output was lessening by the minute, Shukurov and Abdullayev were starting to control things down the right flank and constantly threatening to fashion a second.

O'Neill looked to his bench to spare his blushes, Niall McGinn on for Hodson, then Billy McKay for Brunt, but there was no significant effect.

Just two minutes remained when Paterson belted the upright but there was much worse to come.

First McAuley was received his second yellow of the campaign then Evans went through the back of Aliyev deep in injury-time and was immediately dismissed, with Shukurov adding the final insult by slotting the free-kick into the top corner.

AzerbaijanTeam StatisticsNorthern Ireland
2Goals0
01st Half Goals0
4Shots on Target8
4Shots off Target11
2Blocked Shots3
2Corners5
7Fouls12
4Offsides2
1Yellow Cards1
0Red Cards1
78.6Passing Success80.4
16Tackles19
68.8Tackles Success78.9
46.2Possession53.8
38.6Territorial Advantage61.4
397Total Passes460
8Total Crosses23
146Lost Balls137
55Recoveries52
45.21st Half Poss.54.8
47.82nd Half Poss.52.2

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

More Match Results

There are no results at present.

Footer 365

Daley Blind backs Louis van Gaal's brutally honest approach at Manchester United

Daley Blind says Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal's brutally honest manner is good for team-building.

Premier League: West Ham come from behind twice at Hull City to earn 2-2 draw

West Ham twice came from behind to earn a battling 2-2 draw with Hull City in an entertaining clash at the KC Stadium.

Champions League: 'Arsenal have made some good signings', says Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp

Jurgen Klopp believes Arsenal made a number of strong summer signings and expects them to be tough opponents on Tuesday.

Mail Box

Forget it, Ronaldo Won't Come Back

A varied morning mailbox, with thoughts on Ronaldo, Daley Blind = Michael Carrick, Ed Woodward redemption, stick with Pardew, QPR's name change and marbles...

Woke Up This Morning Feeling Fine...

Man United fans are a more than a tad excited, Liverpool fans are a little depressed and we have mails on Mesut Ozil, Newcastle, Aston Villa and lots more...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property