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Dublin: 2 °C Tuesday 20 March, 2018

Ignored by his club, Kyle Lafferty's remarkable form for his country continued tonight

Michael O’Neill’s Northern Ireland easily got the better of Azerbaijan in their World Cup qualifier.

Image: Brian Lawless

KYLE LAFFERTY IS a curious case.

Throughout Northern Ireland’s historic qualification for last summer’s European Championship, the striker was an outcast for his club but excelling for his country.

And not much has changed.

The 29-year-old is still at Norwich and still struggling for game-time. This season he’s racked up just six appearances for them, netting twice.

And yet, when he represents Northern Ireland, he continues to prove his value.

Maybe it’s a testament to Michael O’Neill’s man-management skills but Lafferty is a crucial part of the international side.

He managed a brace in a 4-0 win against San Marino last month and at a rain-battered Windsor Park tonight, he grabbed another goal as the home side romped to a 4-0 Group C win in their World Cup qualifier against Azerbaijan.

Lafferty opened the scoring after 27 minutes while Gareth McAuley, Conor McLoughlin and Chris Brunt added the other goals.

The win wins the North jumps above Azerbaijan in the table and now lie second in the group, five points behind Germany.

It was all a little too easy for England against Scotland this evening

This Ireland team has grown since our last visit to Vienna – Coleman

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