Northern Ireland lose UEFA Nations League game in Austria


Friday, 12th October 2018, 10:39 pm
Updated Saturday, 13th October 2018, 4:00 am
Austria's Arnautovic scores the only goal of the match against Northern Ireland
Austria's Arnautovic scores the only goal of the match against Northern Ireland

Josh Magennis will lead the line for Northern Ireland in their Nations League clash against Austria on Friday night.

The Bolton striker got the nod with Kyle Lafferty - who started the competition opener against Bosnia and Herzegovina last month - having pulled out of the squad at short notice.

Millwall winger Shane Ferguson was selected ahead of Jordan Jones to start on the left wing.

After a cagey start, Austria had the first chance of note when Marcel Sabitzer shot through the crowd after a corner, and it took an awkward touch from Magennis to direct the ball over the bar.

Northern Ireland played themselves into trouble in the 17th minute when goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell, making his second competitive appearance, picked up Jonny Evans' back-pass in his area to gift Austria an indirect free-kick.

But West Ham striker Marko Arnautovic fired straight into the wall and Michael O'Neill's men were able to deal with the resulting corner.

Northern Ireland had only one half-chance, just after the 30-minute mark, when Ollie Norwood found the run of Ferguson with a raking cross-field ball, but he headed high and wide and it was still goalless at the break.

Dejection for NI players after the 1-0 loss in Austria

All the chances missing in the first half seemed to arrive at once in the second, with Paddy McNair testing Heinz Lindner after Austria could only clear Stuart Dallas' long throw, and Peacock-Farrell making saves to deny Arnautovic and Sabitzer in quick succession.

Steven Davis wasted Northern Ireland's best chance so far when he dragged a shot wide when through on goal in the 53rd minute.

Arnautovic wanted a penalty in the 65th minute when he tried to cut in past Jamal Lewis, but the referee showed no interest.

Arnautovic would have his goal six minutes later when he sprung the offside trap to latch on to Peter Zulj's pass and slot past Peacock-Farrell.