Northern Ireland Under-21s lose qualifier in Cyprus

Northern Ireland under-21 goalkeeper Ross Glendinning

Northern Ireland suffered a 3-0 defeat by Cyprus in their first 2015 European Under-21 Championship qualifying match.

Injuries and the ineligibility of older players from the last campaign meant Stephen Robinson took an inexperienced squad to Nicosia's Makarion Stadium.

And they were well beaten by their Group Nine opponents in stifling heat.

Onisiforos Roushias scored a 19th-minute opener and Zacharias Theodorou and Pieros Sotiriou netted after the break to secure a comfortable win.

Cyprus were on top from the start, Demetris Moulazimis hitting the woodwork inside the first three minutes before Linfield goalkeeper Ross Glendinning was forced into a good follow-up save.

James Gray had Northern Ireland's first attempt after six minutes but could not find the target.

Glendinning made another fine stop in the 15th minute but had no answer four minutes later when Roushias struck the opener from Sotiriou's assist.

Gray had chances to level either side of half-time but missed both and Theodorou netted the second for Cyprus in the 59th minute.

Ten minutes later the result was in no doubt as Sotiriou scored following a corner.