Norway wreck Baraclough’s big night with five-star show
Referee: B Frankowski (Pol)
NORTHERN IRELAND 1
Elyounoussi 2; Haaland 7, 58; Sorloth 19, 47
Northern Ireland were made to pay for a makeshift defence as Norway scored three times in the opening 20 minutes on their way to a 5-1 Nations League win at Windsor Park.
With Jonny Evans and Jamal Lewis both missing from the match day squad, Northern Ireland were repeatedly exposed at the back with Bailey Peacock-farrell – the hero of Friday’s 1-1 draw in Romania – unable to do any thing as Mohamed El you no us si, Erling Haaland and Alexander Sorloth all scored early goals.
There had been time during a frantic opening sequence for PaddyMcnair to score a fifthminute equaliser, but second-half goals from Sorloth and Haaland saw Northern Ireland concede five at home for the first time since 2003.
Played out amid the echoes of an empty Windsor Park, it was certainly not the night Ian Baraclough was hoping for in his first home game in charge – and it will come as a chastening experience with the Euro 2020 qualifying play-off away to Bosnia and Herzegovina next on the agenda in October.
It was also not the result Steven Davis had hoped for as he lined up to earn his 119th cap, equalling the Northern Ireland record of Pat Jennings.
Norway, potential opponents in the European Championship play-off final for Scotland should Steven Clarke’ s side beat semi-final rivals Israel, were simply too good and, in Haaland, they have a young player of world-class quality.
NORTHERN IRELAND: Peacock-farrell, Smith, Ballard (Boyce 46), Cathcart, Ferguson, Davis, Thompson, Dallas, Mcnair, Saville (Corry Evans 71), Washington (Lavery 77). Subs not used: Mcginn, Cooper, Mccalmont, Carson, Galbraith, Mcgovern, Mclaughlin, Lafferty.
NORWAY: Jarstein, Elabdellaoui (Svensson 79), Hovland, Ajer, Aleesami (Meling 78), Johansen (King 71), Henriksen, Normann, Elyounoussi, Sorloth, Haland. Subs not used: Thorsby, Berg, Gabrielsen, Hanche-olsen, rossbach, Nyland, Fossum, Linnes, Berge.