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Norwood gets 90 minutes as Northern Ireland draw

2 June 2015

Northern Ireland 1-1 Qatar

Oliver Norwood played 90 minutes for Northern Ireland as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Qatar in an international friendly in Crewe at the weekend.

After Brentford’s Stuart Dallas had put Northern Ireland ahead just after half-time, Norwood came close to extending the lead but was denied a goal by a last-ditch challenge from Mohamed Musa.

Karim Boudiaf fired home an eye-catching leveller 20 minutes from time to ensure the game finished all square and leave the Green and White Army still without a friendly win since 2008.

Northern Ireland began the friendly on the front foot and goalscorer Dallas and Niall McGinn both went close in the opening minutes, the former shooting just wide.

Norwood forced visiting goalkeeper Amine Lecomite into flappy save from a free-kick before the Royals’ anchor man delivered a cross that Will Grigg glanced just wide.  

They went ahead 52 seconds after half time. McGinn made good ground down the right and crossed towards Grigg, whose flick on fell for Dallas, and the Brentford man fired into the net.

As Northern Ireland pressed for a second, former Derby man Jamie Ward whizzed a cross-shot across the face of goal and, shortly afterwards, Norwood was deprived of a certain second when Musa slid in to divert the ball over his own crossbar from point-blank range. 

Qatar grabbed an equaliser, though, when Boudiaf drove home a rasping drive from 25 yards that left home stopper Michael McGovern with no chance.

Attention now turns to June 13th’s game with Romania at Windsor Park. Victory for Northern Ireland in the Group F clash would go a long way to securing their place at Euro 2016, which would be their first appearance at a major tournament since 1986.



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