Healy fires NI to victory
Northern Ireland go second in group
By Andrew Scurr. Last Updated: 22/08/07 11:10pm
Healy: Celebrates with Lafferty
Northern Ireland continued their bid to qualify for next summer's European Championship with a comfortable 3-1 win over Liechtenstein at Windsor Park.
Two first-half goals from David Healy and a second-half strike from Kyle Lafferty ensured a perfect start to life under new manager Nigel Worthington.
Mario Frick got a goal late on but it was nothing more than a consolation as Northern Ireland climbed above Spain into second place in Group F and moved within two points of Sweden in top spot.
Healy, who had already got into the action inside the first minute, took just five minutes to open the scoring as he met Keith Gillespie's cross and headed home his tenth goal of qualifying to give Northern Ireland the best possible start.
Frick should have pulled Liechtenstein level in the 18th minute when unmarked he sent a powerful header straight at Maik Taylor.
Lafferty was guilty of an even worse miss soon after as he somehow headed wide at the back post. Chris Brunt's cross picked out the Burnley man six yards out but with the goal gaping he failed to hit the target.
Healy was never going to make a mistake when handed the chance to get his second by a poor pass from Michael Stocklasa and he curled a shot into the top corner, giving Liechtenstein goalkeeper Peter Jehle no chance.
Lafferty made amends for his earlier miss in the 56th minute as he grabbed his first competitive goal for Northern Ireland after brilliantly bringing down George McCartney's cross from the left and blasting home.
Substitute Stuart Elliott thought he had scored just minutes after coming on but his neat finish at the near post was ruled out for offside.
Steven Davis should have added a fourth with ten minutes remaining after an error from Jehle but the midfielder fired well over from inside the Liechtenstein area.
Northern Ireland were unable to hang onto their clean sheet as in the 89th minute Frick finished at the second attempt following a good run after his first effort was blocked on the line by defender Stephen Craigan.
|Northern Ireland||Team Statistics||Liechtenstein|
|2||1st Half Goals||0|
|3||Shots on Target||2|
|6||Shots off Target||4|
European Championship Qualifying
European Championship Qualifying Group A
European Championship Qualifying Group B
|2||Republic of Ireland||10||21|
European Championship Qualifying Group C
European Championship Qualifying Group D
European Championship Qualifying Group E
European Championship Qualifying Group F
European Championship Qualifying Group G
European Championship Qualifying Group H
European Championship Qualifying Group I