The Scottish Mail on Sunday



STU­ART DAL­LAS’ stop­page-time strike earned North­ern Ire­land a smash-and-grab win over Azer­bai­jan that keeps them firmly on the road to Rus­sia.

Miss­ing eight play­ers from the squad they took to France, and with­out Gareth McAuley due to a first-half in­jury, Michael O’Neill’s side strug­gled and were thank­ful for the profli­gacy of Afran Is­may­ilov.

And they se­cured an un­likely vic­tory when Dal­las hit a late win­ner, his first in a com­pet­i­tive in­ter­na­tional, hav­ing been teed-up by the cool-headed Jonny Evans in the box.

North­ern Ir­ish boss O’Neill said: ‘It was a fan­tas­tic way to fin­ish the game. We were out on our feet and look­ing to get away with a 0-0 draw. I am re­ally de­lighted for Stu­art.’

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