Northern Ireland produced one of their best defensive performances in one of the boring football scores of the weekend in World Cup Qualifying. The draw meant that Italy failed to secure an automatic qualifying spot for the 2022 World Cup and will now have to fight for one via the playoffs. The hosts could have won it in the death but for a goalline clearance by Leonardo Bonucci near the end. Frederico Chiesa went the closest to scoring as Italy could not create too many goal-scoring chances.
Northern Ireland: Peacock-Farrell (7), Cathcart (8), Flanagan (7), Jonny Evans (8), Lewis (7), Davis (8), Dallas (7), McCann (7), Saville (7), Whyte (8), Magennis (6).
Subs: Washington (7), Corry Evans (6).
Italy: Sanchez (7), Donnarumma (6), Di Lorenzo (6), Bonucci (7), Acerbi (5), Emerson (6), Tonali (5), Jorginho (5), Barella (5), Berardi (6), Insigne (6), Chiesa (5).
Subs: Cristante (5), Scamacca (5), Locatelli (5), Bernardeschi (5).
Man of the match: Jonny Evans.
Northern Ireland boss Ian Baraclough told Sky Sports: “You know you’re going to have to work for long periods and sustain some pressure. We did that in abundance, you’re going to get one or two chances, especially as it goes on and they start to take chances themselves, and Conor Washington’s had the best of the lot.” he added. “It was the work-rate, the desire to go and get a result for a dead rubber in effect, although every game means something for us. It’s something to be thought of with pride, and we played with our heads as well. We asked the players not to play with too much emotion, and they did that to a man.
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