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Last Updated: Sunday, 30 March, 2003, 16:19 GMT 17:19 UK
Greeks win in Belfast
Greece celebrated victory over Northern Ireland at Windsor Park
Greece celebrate the early goal by Angelos Charisteas

Northern Ireland 0-2 Greece

Northern Ireland fell to another European Championship defeat as Angelos Charisteas scored twice for Greece at Windsor Park.

To make it a truly miserable night for manager Sammy McIlroy, Northern Ireland finished with nine men as James Quinn and Keith Gillespie were sent-off.

Quinn, who plays in the Dutch League for Willem II, was shown the red card in the 38th minute for a wild lunge on Georgios Karagounis.

Blackburn's Gillespie followed him 20 minutes from time after picking up his second yellow card.

Northern Ireland have now gone eight matches without a goal and are stranded at the bottom of Group Six with just one point from four qualifiers.

Northern Ireland created a good chance in the first minute when Keith Gillespie skipped away down the right and delivered a cross to the back post only to see Grant McCann's tame header easily saved.

David Healy of Northern Ireland in action against Greece at Windsor Park
Northern Ireland's David Healy takes on the Greek defence

Play switched down the other end, and goalkeeper Maik Taylor did well to beat away a shot from Stylianos Giannakopoulos.

Greece took the lead after three minutes when Werder Bremen striker Charisteas took advantage of a stumble by Stephen Craigan to score after Vasilios Tsartas had carved out the opening.

Northern Ireland were struggling to get their game together, but skipper Stephen Lomas got on the end of a flick-on from Quinn only to fire well wide of the target.

Quinn then needed treatment in the 20th minute after a stiff challenge from Sotirios Kyrgiakos.

Quinn showed his determination in the 28th minute to get on the end of a Gillespie free-kick - only to see it saved by the goalkeeper.

But Northern Ireland's troubles increased in the 38th minute when Quinn was sent off.

McIlroy knew his side needed an early goal in the second half if they were to get back in the game.

But they conceded a second goal on 55 minutes when a sloppy back pass from George McCartney let in Charisteas and he scored from close range.

Things went from bad to worse for the luckless Irish as Gillespie became the second player to be sent-off.

Late in the game Northern Ireland came close to scoring when defender Mark Williams saw a shot crash off the Greek crossbar.

Northern Ireland: Taylor, Aaron Hughes, Craigan, Williams, McCartney, Gillespie, Lomas, Johnson, McCann, Healy, Quinn. Subs: Fettis, Elliott, Kirk, Duff, McVeigh, Toner, Baird.

Greece: Nikopolidis, Giannakopoulos, Venetidis, Dabizas, Kyrgiakos, Pandelis Konstantinidis, Zagorakis, Karagounis, Charisteas, Tsartas, Nikolaidis. Subs: Chalkias, Kafes, Georgiadis, Fyssas, Vryzes, Amanatidis, Lakis.

Referee: G Gilewski (Poland).

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