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Page last updated at 18:36 GMT, Wednesday, 12 August 2009 19:36 UK

N Ireland 1-1 Israel

Grant McCann curls home the opening goal in the friendly
Grant McCann curls home the opening goal in the Belfast friendly

Northern Ireland warmed up for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers with a draw in this Windsor Park friendly.

Grant McCann curled a free-kick into the corner of the net to give Nigel Worthington's side an 18th minute lead.

Elyaniv Barda equalised eight minutes later with a close-range finish before Damien Johnson cleared Tamir Cohen's header off the line.

Jonathan Tuffey saved from Roberto Colautti's shot while Kyle Lafferty headed over in the dying minutes.

The Northern Ireland fans were typically noisy from the start but sadly the passion from the stands was not reflected on the pitch.

Israel created a couple of early half-chances but it was McCann's fine strike which brought this game to life.

The Scunthorpe midfielder picked himself up after being fouled and bent a 20-yard free-kick round the wall, with keeper Dudu Aouate managing to get a touch before the ball hit the corner of the net.

Israel levelled eight minutes later, pouncing on a misplaced pass and breaking forward at speed with Eyal Meshumar's cross turned in by Barda at the backpost.

Lafferty got on the end of a Chris Baird cross but his header lacked power and was kept out by Aouate.

Awful game, would rather have sat in the Oval with no lights on than spend my £20 on that.


Johnson came to N Ireland's rescue from a 36th minute corner, the midfielder stationed at the backpost to clear Cohen's header off the line.

Worthington made four half-time changes with Jonathan Tuffey, Steven Davis, Gareth McAuley, Niall McGinn replacing Maik Taylor, Chris Brunt, Aaron Hughes and Johnson.

McGinn was first to threaten in the second half with a fine run and cross, but Davis failed to get solid contact on his header.

Avihai Yadin sent his fierce shot straight at Tuffey before David Healy, who endured another frustrating night in attack, made way for Burnley striker Martin Paterson.

Aviram Baruchyan found space 14 yards out but sliced his effort high and wide.

Tuffey made a fine block with his legs from Roberto Colautti's clever turn and shot.

Lafferty was presented with the final chance of the game but the Rangers forward headed over from a Baird cross.

Northern Ireland will now focus on their World Cup qualifiers next month against Poland and group leaders Slovakia.

Northern Ireland: Taylor, Baird, Craigan, Hughes, McCartney, Johnson, Clingan, McCann, Brunt, Healy, Lafferty.

Israel: Aouate, Meshumar, Keinan, Strol, Dayan, Cohen, Baruchian, Benayoun, Yadin, Barda, Colautti.

Referee: Johannes Valgeirsson (Iceland)

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see also
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Italy 3-0 Northern Ireland
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Worthington praise for NI display
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