September 10 2013
From giving Portugal a scare to losing in Luxembourg, Jonny Evans and his Northern Ireland team-mates have endured a torrid few days. The Manchester United defender was part of a Norn Iron backline which conceded three times at Stade Josy Barthel, as the Red Lions claimed their first victory in a World Cup qualifier since 1972!
Northern Ireland travelled to Luxembourg looked for revenge after the minnows stunned Windsor Park with a 1-1 draw earlier in the campaign, but ultimately they heaped more misery onto Michael O’Neill’s side.
Martin Paterson had put the visitors ahead against the run of play, but Aurelien Joachim equalised before the interval with a deflected strike.
Luxembourg continued to be the better side after the break and took a deserved lead through Stefano Bensi, though Gareth McAuley’s header looked to have rescued the Ulstermen a point with eight minutes to go.
However, there was one final twist as Mathias Janisch fired home the winning goal from a set-piece to the delight of the home fans. They watched in awe as Luxembourg claimed only their fourth ever World Cup qualification victory.
In a bizarre qualification campaign, Northern Ireland have failed to beat Luxembourg on two occasions and were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Azerbaijan. However, despite a string of grim results, they also have claimed a famous draw in Portugal and a home win over Russia.
Elsewhere in Group F, Russia claimed a crucial 3-1 win over Israel to go top of the group with two qualifiers remaining.