NORTHERN IRELAND HAD plenty to celebrate on Friday evening as they moved up to second in their World Cup qualifying group with a big win over Azerbaijan, but the mood was much more sombre before kick-off.
With the game against the Azeris taking place on Armistice Day, supporters at Windsor Park unveiled a gigantic poppy display in the stadium’s west stand as a minute’s silence was observed prior to the game in Belfast.
The Irish Football Association (IFA) indicated that the Northern Ireland players would not wear poppies on their jerseys after being warned of the potential repercussions by FIFA.
Instead, players donned black armbands and the match programme featured an article commemorating former Ireland and Bohemians player Harold Sloan, who was killed while serving in the British Army in 1917.
Northern Ireland went on to defeat Robert Prosinecki’s Azerbaijan 4-0, a result which sees them climb into second place behind Germany in Group C.
Goals from Kyle Lafferty, Gareth McAuley, Conor McLaughlin and Chris Brunt secured the win for Michael O’Neill’s team.
Will Grigg also made a substitute appearance, much to the delight of the home fans…
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