World Cup qualifier: Northern Ireland 1-0 Russia
Northern Ireland clinched a remarkable first win of their World Cup qualifying campaign as Martin Paterson's header saw off Fabio Capello's Russia.
Paterson superbly guided in Niall McGinn's fine cross just before half-time to give Michael O'Neill a first win as NI manager in his 10th match.
Just before the goal Jamie Ward struck a post and in the second half Paterson had a header ruled out for offside.
It was Northern Ireland's first win since August 2011.
That was a 4-0 success over the Faroe Islands under Nigel Worthington, who resigned just a few months later after a poor Euro 2012 qualifying effort.
Former Shamrock Rovers boss O'Neill took over in December 2011 but has had to wait almost two years for a maiden victory.
With their hopes of reaching the 2014 World Cup all but over after disappointing home draws against Azerbaijan and Luxembourg, and the most recent defeat by Israel, things were looking bleak.
But, as they have done so often in their history, the men in green produced an against-the-odds victory when it was least expected.
Paterson's header was his first competitive goal for Northern Ireland - his only other in a green shirt having come from a penalty in a friendly against Finland in August 2012.
It came just seconds after Ward's low 25-yard drive had crashed off an upright, with Paterson just missing out on forcing in the rebound.
O'Neill's men had started brightly with McGinn directing an ambitious volley wide and Paterson seeing his shot comfortably saved by CSKA Moscow keeper Igor Akinfeev.
However Russia, knowing victory would take them to the top of Group F over Portugal, took over and penned the hosts deep into their own half.
There was a real heart-stopping moment when Alan Dzagoev seemed to have worked an opening in the box but West Brom defender Gareth McAuley was again on hand with a fine sliding tackle to dispossess the Russian.
Northern Ireland, hit by the late withdrawals of Manchester United defender Jonny Evans and Palermo striker Kyle Lafferty, emerged from the pressure unscathed and produced a blistering finish to the first half.
The drama started in the 41st minute when Ward collected Danny Lafferty's quick free-kick and ventured forward to drill a low shot against the post from 25 yards.
Paterson could not get any power as he attempted to force in the rebound but the Huddersfield Town striker responded to that disappointment by grabbing the goal which rocked the Russians.
McGinn set it up by getting behind his man and delivering the perfect ball from the byeline on the right, Paterson rising to steer a sublime header beyond the reach of Akinfeev.
In the 58th minute Paterson, who only started because of Kyle Lafferty's injury, and Northern Ireland briefly thought they had a second.
Shane Ferguson's corner was played back across goal by Craig Cathcart and headed in by Paterson, only for an offside flag to cut short the celebrations.
Northern Ireland continued to play their hearts out, with their belief visibly expanding.
Russia became increasingly frustrated and, in the end, failed to get the result they needed to go top of Group F.
The night belonged to Northern Ireland and manager O'Neill.
- 01 Carroll
- 02 Lafferty Booked
- 04 McAuley
- 06 Cathcart
- 11 Ferguson
- 18 Hughes
- 07 McGinn (Evans - 82' )
- 08 S Davis
- 16 Norwood
- 09 Paterson Booked (Grigg - 86' )
- 19 Ward
- 12 McGovern
- 03 McGivern
- 17 Bruce
- 22 Hodson
- 13 Evans
- 14 McCann
- 21 O'Connor
- 10 Magennis
- 15 Grigg
- 20 McKay
- 01 Akinfeev
- 02 Aniukov
- 04 Ignashevich
- 14 V Berezutsky Booked
- 07 Denisov
- 10 Dzagoev (Cheryshev - 45' )
- 15 Shirokov
- 18 Bystrov
- 20 Faitzulin
- 23 Kombarov
- 11 Kerzhakov (Dzjuba - 46' )
- 12 Gabulov
- 16 Ryzhikov
- 03 Shchennikov
- 05 Kozlov
- 06 Dyakov
- 13 Granat
- 08 Glushakov
- 17 Ryazantsev
- 19 Samedov
- 21 Cheryshev (Samedov - 52' )
- 22 Ionov
- 09 Dzjuba
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The referee blows the whistle to end the game.90:00 +2:01
Aaron Hughes gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Roman Shirokov. Roman Shirokov restarts play with the free kick.89:56
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Alexander Samedov by Danny Lafferty. Dmitri Kombarov restarts play with the free kick.86:54
Unfair challenge on Danny Lafferty by Alexander Samedov results in a free kick. Roy Carroll takes the free kick.85:34 Substitution
Substitution Martin Paterson goes off and Will Grigg comes on.83:19
Foul by Martin Paterson on Viktor Faitzulin, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Vladimir Bystrov.81:39 Substitution
Substitution Corry Evans is brought on as a substitute for Niall McGinn.81:11
Roman Shirokov takes a shot.73:32 Booking
Booking for Martin Paterson for unsporting behaviour. Vasili Berezutsky is cautioned by the ref for unsporting behaviour. A cross is delivered by Oliver Norwood. Sergei Ignashevich gets a block in.73:27 Booking
Corner taken by Oliver Norwood. Roman Shirokov manages to make a clearance.63:18
Vladimir Bystrov sends in a cross. Aaron Hughes manages to make a clearance.62:51
The referee blows for offside. Vasili Berezutsky restarts play with the free kick.61:02
Corner from the right by-line taken by Dmitri Kombarov. Clearance made by Danny Lafferty.59:41 Booking
Martin Paterson takes a shot. Blocked by Craig Cathcart. Free kick awarded for a foul by Danny Lafferty on Artem Dzjuba. Danny Lafferty receives a yellow card for unsporting behaviour. Artem Dzjuba restarts play with the free kick.57:47
The assistant referee flags for offside against Martin Paterson. Igor Akinfeev takes the free kick.57:09
Corner taken by Shane Ferguson from the right by-line. Clearance by Vasili Berezutsky.56:11
Roman Shirokov crosses the ball. Blocked by Craig Cathcart.
Corner from the right by-line taken by Alexander Samedov. Dmitri Kombarov takes a shot.51:19 Substitution
Substitution Denis Cheryshev goes off and Alexander Samedov comes on.49:03
Unfair challenge on Roman Shirokov by Steven Davis results in a free kick. Roman Shirokov has a shot from the free kick which hits the wall.46:54
The ball is delivered by Vladimir Bystrov. Clearance made by Craig Cathcart.45:40 Substitution
Substitution Artem Dzjuba is brought on as a substitute for Alexander Kerzhakov.45:01
The second half has started.45:00 Substitution
Substitution Denis Cheryshev is brought on as a substitute for Alan Dzagoev.44:52 Half time
Half Time The whistle is blown to end the first half.42:16
The assist for the goal came from Niall McGinn.42:16 Goal scored
Goal! - Martin Paterson - N Ireland 1 - 0 Russia Martin Paterson scores with a header. Northern Ireland 1-0 Russia.40:26
Jamie Ward takes a shot. Martin Paterson takes a shot. Igor Akinfeev parries the effort to safety.36:03
Corner from the right by-line taken by Viktor Faitzulin.35:31
Steven Davis takes a shot. Igor Akinfeev safely holds on.31:41
Niall McGinn sends in a cross that goes out.30:47
Corner taken by Viktor Faitzulin.30:32
Alexander Kerzhakov takes a shot. Blocked by Gareth McAuley.29:07
The ball is delivered by Roman Shirokov.24:12
Aaron Hughes challenges Sergei Ignashevich unfairly and gives away a free kick. Sergei Ignashevich takes the free kick.20:47
Niall McGinn crosses the ball. Sergei Ignashevich gets a block in.20:01
The referee blows for offside against Niall McGinn. Igor Akinfeev takes the free kick.16:25
Craig Cathcart challenges Alan Dzagoev unfairly and gives away a free kick. Shot comes in from Dmitri Kombarov from the free kick which clears the target.14:28
Unfair challenge on Viktor Faitzulin by Niall McGinn results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Vasili Berezutsky.12:16
Niall McGinn takes a shot. Alan Dzagoev gets a block in.11:29
Viktor Faitzulin takes a shot.8:44
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Gareth McAuley by Alan Dzagoev. Roy Carroll restarts play with the free kick.4:46
Martin Paterson takes a shot. Igor Akinfeev catches the ball.4:01
Shane Ferguson sends in a cross. Clearance made by Sergei Ignashevich.3:15
Martin Paterson gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Vasili Berezutsky. Free kick taken by Vasili Berezutsky.1:39
Niall McGinn takes a shot and went wide of the right hand post.0:36
Vladimir Bystrov delivers the ball. Roy Carroll catches the ball.0:11
Jamie Ward takes a shot. Igor Akinfeev catches the ball.0:00
The match has kicked off.
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