Top Stories

Albania 0-4 Northern Ireland: Simone Magill scores twice as visitors boost hopes

Northern Ireland celebrate Danielle Maxwell's goal
Northern Ireland produced their best performance under Tanya Oxtoby with a free-flowing performance

Northern Ireland kept their hopes of progression to League A of the Women’s Nations alive with a 4-0 win over Albania in Tirana.

Simone Magill scored the opener from close range on 43 minutes after Marissa Callaghan’s effort was blocked.

The Aston Villa striker headed home a second a minute after the restart.

Danielle Maxwell added a third on 58 minutes and Megan Bell rounded out the win late on as NI put in their best performance under Tanya Oxtoby.

The win moves Oxtoby’s side into second place, the promotion play-off spot, in Group B1 ahead of Hungary, who face group winners Republic of Ireland in Dublin at 19:45 GMT.

After sustained pressure, Northern Ireland made the breakthrough three minutes before half-time when Lauren Wade’s cutback was met by Callaghan, whose effort was blocked by Maliqi.

However, the ball rebounded to Magill and the Aston Villa striker managed to squeeze the ball over the line to give the visitors a deserved lead.

Magill added a second immediately after the restart when she headed home Danielle Maxwell’s cross, and the Cliftonville winger turned from provider to goalscorer when her first-time finish found the net.

Rangers midfielder Bell headed home Demi Vance’s corner on 85 minutes to complete an emphatic victory.

After having the majority of possession in the early stages, Northern Ireland’s first chance came after 10 minutes when Magill got on the end of Callaghan’s cross but Maliqi hacked the ball off the line.

Joely Andrews had a great chance to put the visitors ahead when she found herself in space on the penalty spot but Armela Tukaj got a crucial touch to divert the chance over the bar.

The one-way traffic continued as Sarah McFadden went close shortly after and Callaghan saw an effort blocked. Vance then had a shot held by Viona Rexhepi.

Northern Ireland’s pressure was rewarded when Magill poked home the opener, and Laura Rafferty had a header saved by Rexhepi in first-half injury-time.

After lamenting slow starts throughout her short tenure to date, Oxtoby will have been delighted with NI’s quick start to the second half when Magill arrowed a header home to score her 24th international goal.

Maxwell, who scored her first goal in October to rescue a draw with Hungary, was on target again as she slotted home a third before Chloe McCarron volleyed narrowly wide and Maxwell struck over as Oxtoby’s side pushed for a fourth.

Oxtoby handed a debut to highly-rated 18-year-old Linfield winger Keri Halliday, and Albania somehow survived when Callaghan, McCarron and Maxwell saw efforts desperately blocked by red shirts.

Debutant goalkeeper Maddy Harvey-Clifford was called into action for the first time with six minutes to play to keep out Fortesa Berisha’s effort, but Bell would have the final say when she headed home.



Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Rexhepi
  • 19GjergjiSubstituted forPaqariziat 61′minutes
  • 2Tukaj
  • 6Maliqi
  • 16Gjini
  • 14Franja
  • 15Berisha
  • 22MetallaSubstituted forBerishaat 45′minutes
  • 11DoçiSubstituted forLufoat 76′minutes
  • 10Krasniqi
  • 17MaksutiSubstituted forTrokaat 84′minutes


  • 3Curraj
  • 5Paqarizi
  • 7Berisha
  • 9Troka
  • 12Hyska
  • 13Baska
  • 18Lufo
  • 21Hilaj

Northern Ireland

Formation 4-1-4-1

  • 23Harvey-Clifford
  • 2McKennaSubstituted forHamiltonat 66′minutes
  • 4McFaddenSubstituted forMasonat 80′minutes
  • 6Rafferty
  • 3Vance
  • 7McCarron
  • 11Maxwell
  • 20AndrewsSubstituted forHallidayat 66′minutes
  • 8CallaghanSubstituted forBellat 80′minutes
  • 14Wade
  • 9MagillSubstituted forHollowayat 65′minutes


  • 1Turner
  • 5Mason
  • 10Halliday
  • 12Norney
  • 13McLaren
  • 15Holloway
  • 16Caldwell
  • 17Hamilton
  • 18Bell
  • 19Wilson
  • 21Beattie
  • 22Magee

Minka Vekkeli


Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button