Euro U21 Qualifying - Group 2
Northern Ireland U211Slovakia U210

Northern Ireland U21 1-0 Slovakia U21

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Sykes goal secures NI Under-21 win over Slovakia

Northern Ireland U21s rounded off an impressive Euro 2019 qualifying campaign with a win over 10-man Slovakia at Windsor Park.

A second-half header from Glenavon's Mark Sykes secured second spot in Group Two behind Spain but it wasn't enough to grab one of the play-off places.

The result was academic as Portugal claimed the fourth and final play-off spot with a 3-1 win over Bosnia.

Laszlo Benes picked up a second booking for Slovakia before half time.

Despite missing out on the play-offs, Ian Baralough's side will reflect on a hugely positive campaign which resulted in seven wins from their 10 games, with the highlight last month's 2-1 away win over Group Two leaders Spain.

Northern Ireland dominant

Paul Smyth is chased by Slovakia's Michal Siprak
Paul Smyth, who had two penalty appeals turned down, is chased by Slovakia's Michal Siprak

They started with purpose in Belfast with Lavery forcing an early save from Rodak after a nervous clearance from the visitors, before Kacer's smart shot was thwarted by Hazard.

Northern Ireland had a penalty appeal turned down when Smyth slipped, claiming he was clipped as he fell, but his protests were waved away.

Thompson swung in a free-kick which was cleared by Rodak in the Slovakian goal, but the game's first big talking point came just before half time when Laszlo Benes was sent off for a second yellow card offence.

He was booked for a handball and soon after picked up a second yellow for a clumsy tackle on Jamie McDonagh.

The home side came close to breaking the deadlock after 56 minutes, producing their best move of the match with a slick passing move involving Lavery and Thompson. Roy got on the end of it but his shot was pushed over the bar.

Northern Ireland's influence was growing and Sykes gave Ian Baraclough's side a deserved lead with a close-range header after 62 minutes, from McDonagh's cross in from the right.

Roy drew another save from Rodak but there was a let-off for Northern Ireland when Hazard spilled a Bozenik free-kick. Skipper Vavro tapped the rebound into the net but the home fans in the 5,462 crowd were relieved to see the offside flag go up.

There was drama in stoppage time when Gorman's shot was blocked and Smyth appeared to be pushed over in the box, denying Northern Ireland a deserved second goal.

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Tuesday 16th October 2018

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Croatia U21108113152625
2Greece U21108112652125
3Czech Rep U21105141415-116
4Belarus U21104241114-314
5Moldova U2110217823-157
6San Marino U21100010129-280

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Spain U211090131102127
2Northern Ireland U21106221511420
3Slovakia U21106041718-118
4Iceland U21103251619-311
5Albania U2110145917-87
6Estonia U21100281124-132

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Denmark U21107213082223
2Poland U21106402291322
3Georgia U21103341119-812
4Finland U21102351321-89
5Lithuania U2110226716-98
6Faroe Islands U21101451020-107

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1England U21108202341926
2Netherlands U21105322161518
3Ukraine U21105231812617
4Scotland U21104241313014
5Latvia U2110046518-134
6Andorra U2110037128-273

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Germany U21108113372625
2Norway U21104331513215
3Israel U21104241718-114
4R. of Ireland U21104241215-314
5Kosovo U2110334912-312
6Azerbaijan U2110037627-213

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Belgium U21108202351826
2Sweden U21106221981120
3Turkey U21105231410417
4Hungary U21103251214-211
5Cyprus U2110217823-157
6Malta U2110118824-164

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Serbia U21108202351826
2Austria U21107122571822
3Russia U211061325131219
4Armenia U2110235916-79
5Macedonia U21102171724-77
6Gibraltar U2110109236-343

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Romania U21107301941524
2Portugal U211071233112222
3Bosnia and Herzegovina U211060424111318
4Wales U21104151114-313
5Switzerland U21103161118-710
6Liechtenstein U21100010242-400

I

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1France U21109102461828
2Slovenia U21104421412216
3Montenegro U21103251515011
4Bulgaria U21102441011-110
5Kazakhstan U21102441318-510
6Luxembourg U2110217721-147
View full Euro U21 Qualifying tables

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