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Dublin: 3 °C Saturday 16 November, 2019
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Paddy McNair scores twice as Northern Ireland triumph against Czechs in five-goal thriller

A superb first-half display from Northern Ireland was enough to secure a 3-2 win over Czech Republic.

McNair celebrates his first goal on Monday evening.
McNair celebrates his first goal on Monday evening.
Image: Petr David Josek

PADDY MCNAIR SCORED twice as Northern Ireland’s sublime first-half showing was enough to earn a thrilling 3-2 win over the Czech Republic this evening.

Michael O’Neill’s side suffered a disappointing Euro 2020 qualifying defeat to Netherlands on Thursday but bounced back in style with a superb opening 45 minutes.

McNair got them on their way with a fine finish in the ninth minute before Jonny Evans doubled the advantage midway through the opening period.

The impressive McNair scored a second five minutes prior to the break before the hosts set up a tense finale with two goals in as many minutes from Vladimir Darida and Alex Kral in the second half, but the away side saw out the win.

The visitors started with a spring in their step and powered into a ninth-minute lead.

czech-republic-northern-ireland-soccer-friendly Michael O'Neill's side initially raced into a three-goal lead. Source: Petr David Josek

Liam Boyce’s pass from the left wing found McNair on the edge of the penalty area and the Middlesbrough midfielder took a touch past Ladislav Krejci before slotting into the bottom-right corner.

They deservedly doubled their advantage midway through the first half when Evans reacted quickly after a goalmouth scramble from a corner to scoop home his fourth international goal.

McNair then scored his second after 40 minutes, latching onto Steven Davis’ throughball before rounding the onrushing Jiri Pavlenka and slotting into an empty net.

The hosts improved markedly after the restart and reduced the deficit with quick-fire goals in the 67th and 68th minutes.

First, Darida crashed an effort into the roof of the net from Zdenek Ondrasek’s lay-off before Kral superbly whipped into the bottom corner from 18 yards after turning inside Craig Cathcart.

The resurgent hosts did most of the pressing in the closing stages – Ondrasek rightly seeing a goal ruled out in stoppage time after he had bundled the ball out of Michael McGovern’s hands – but Northern Ireland ultimately held on for an impressive win on the road.

Ryan Bailey steps into the presenter’s chair where he’s joined by Murray Kinsella and Eoin Toolan on the line for Japan to tee up one of the biggest, if not the biggest week in Irish rugby: a World Cup quarter-final against back-to-back champions New Zealand.


Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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