Northern Ireland Under 21s lose 1-0 to Belgium thanks to Michy Batshuayi goal
Last Updated: 09/09/13 9:20pm
Liam Donnelly: Sent off against Belgium
Northern Ireland Under-21s were downed by a solitary first-half goal in their Euro 2015 qualifier in Belgium.
Standard Liege striker Michy Batshuayi grabbed the only goal of the game just before the interval to maintain his side's 100 per cent record, while Fulham's Liam Donnelly was sent off in injury time.
Stephen Robinson's side have now lost both of their Group Nine clashes but this represents a significant improvement on May's 3-0 reverse in Cyprus.
After a slow start, Northern Ireland drew a couple of saves from Belgium goalkeeper Thomas Kaminski, Carl Winchester and Josh Carson both trying their luck.
The hosts settled after that with Paul-Jose Mpoku, Thorgan Hazard and Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco coming into the game more but failing to work Connor Devlin.
Indeed, the next shot on target came from Oldham midfielder Winchester after 42 minutes but he could not beat Kaminski.
Instead, Belgium scored with their first real attempt on goal, Batshuayi firing home from Laurens De Bock's assist moments before the interval.
Dagenham's Sean Shields replaced Kirk Millar at half-time, the first of three replacements alongside Jamie Reid and Paul McElroy, but Northern Ireland could not find an equaliser.
James Gray saw his 56th-minute free-kick saved and soon after Batshuayi hit the woodwork.
There were chances at either end for a second goal but it did not materialise, and with three minutes of added time on the clock Donnelly picked up a second yellow card.
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying
Mon 9th Sep - Group Nine
Cyprus U210 - 2Italy U21
Belgium U211 - 0N Ireland U21
Mon 9th Sep - Group Four
Bosnia U210 - 2Austria U21
Spain U214 - 0Albania U21
Mon 9th Sep - Group One
Finland U211 - 1England U21
Mon 9th Sep - Group Three
Lux'bourg U210 - 1Holland U21
Slovakia U211 - 0Georgia U21
Mon 9th Sep - Group Five
Ukraine U210 - 2Croatia U21
Liec'stein U210 - 6Switzerland U21
Mon 9th Sep - Group Ten
Belarus U211 - 2France U21
Mon 9th Sep - Group Six
Rep Ire U210 - 4Germany U21
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group One
|6||San Marino U21||10||4|
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Two
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Three
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Four
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Five
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Six
|4||Rep of Ireland U21||8||8|
|5||Faroe Islands U21||8||4|
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Seven
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Eight
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Nine
|5||N Ireland U21||8||3|
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Ten
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Eleven
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Twelve
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Thirteen
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Fourteen