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Page last updated at 22:21 GMT, Wednesday, 17 November 2010

NI manager Nigel Worthington backs keeper Alan Blayney

Morocco's Marouane Chamakh celebrates after scoring against Northern Ireland
Morocco's Marouane Chamakh capitalised on Alan Blayney's mistake

Northern Ireland boss Nigel Worthington jumped to the defence of keeper Alan Blayney whose mistake gifted Morocco their goal in the 1-1 draw in Belfast.

Earlier in the day the Linfield player had celebrated the birth of a son.

"I know how Alan is feeling about the goal, it is never a nice situation," said manager Worthington.

"But I hope it does not take away from his day. He deserves to have a good night with his wife and child and look back with a lot of pleasure."

A late penalty by Rory Patterson salvaged a draw for Northern Ireland who were forced to field a makeshift side and fell behind when Arsenal's Marouane Chamakh pounced on a Blayney clearance to score.


Worthington felt the young players could be proud of their efforts.

"We stuck at it. Morocco had a lot of the ball but we kept our shape well," he told Radio Ulster.

"A lot of young players got valuable experience. They are learning the game.

"It was a difficult night to play football but they stood up to the test and came out of it very well."

Plymouth striker Patterson said: "I am chuffed to get my first international goal.

"Nobody else was stepping up for it and I am always confident taking penalties."

Morocco manager Eric Gerets was pleased with the visitors' performance and felt they deserved better from his first game in charge.

"I saw a lot of good things," the former Belgium defender said.

"If one team deserved to win it would have been us but sometimes you need a bit of luck.

"It was a cheap penalty - you could have five penalties like that every game."

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see also
Northern Ireland 1-1 Morocco
17 Nov 10 |  Football
McQuoid shocked by N Ireland call
15 Nov 10 |  Bournemouth
Feeney and McAuley out of NI game
11 Nov 10 |  Football
Healy left out of N Ireland squad
08 Nov 10 |  Football
N Ireland hit by Barton pull-out
29 Sep 10 |  Irish

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