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Euro 2012 qualifier: N Ireland 0-0 Italy

David Healy misses out as he heads wide from close range
David Healy misses out as he heads wide from close range

By Alvin McCaig

Northern Ireland's resolute display earned a deserved point against Italy in their Euro 2012 qualifier.

Italy dominated but David Healy should have put the hosts ahead when he headed wide from six yards on 31 minutes.

Maik Taylor kept out Marco Borriello's strike seconds later and Antonio Cassano curled the rebound wide.

The Group C leaders wasted a series of chances in the second half while Steven Davis broke clear in the final minute but his weak shot was easily saved.

A blustery wind favoured the Italians in the first half and they quickly took control at Windsor Park.

Andrea Pirlo directed play from midfield but the visitors struggled to turn possession into goalmouth chances.

Domenico Criscito had the first strike on goal after after 14 minutes but the full-back dragged his effort wide.


The game burst into life on 31 minutes when Healy, without a goal for 13 games, wasted a glorious opening by heading wide after connecting with Chris Brunt's inswinging cross.

Seconds later and it was Italy's turn to miss out, with Borriello breaking clear before seeing his shot saved by Taylor and then Cassano fired the rebound wide.

Northern Ireland had a penalty appeal turned down after the ball struck Daniele De Rossi's arm in the area.

Stefano Mauri directed his header straight at Taylor in the 36th minute and there were no further scares for a solid home defence until the break.

Italy resumed their dominance on the restart but they again struggled to seriously trouble Taylor.

Mauri volleyed over before Borriello's weak shot was easily gathered by Taylor.

Northern Ireland needed a threat at the other end and Healy was replaced by in-form Rangers striker Kyle Lafferty.

Pirlo blasted over and Simone Pepe failed to direct his backpost volley on target before Warren Feeney sent his flicked header just over in a rare attack by the hosts.

Substitute Giampaolo Pazzini squandered an excellent chance by steering his backpost header across goal and wide.

Davis could have won it for Northern Ireland but he scuffed his 89th minute shot after being put through by Niall McGinn and Emiliano Vivano saved with ease.

Northern Ireland: Taylor, McAuley, Hughes, Craigan, J Evans, Brunt (McGinn 71), Baird, Davis, McCann (C Evans 80), Feeney, Healy (Lafferty 66). Subs not used: Tuffey, Clinghan, Patterson, Gorman.

Italy: Viviano, Criscito, Bonucci, Chiellini, Cassani, De Rossi, Pirlo, Mauri (Marchisio 79), Pepe (Rossi 84), Cassano, Borriello (Pazzini 74). Subs not used: Sirigu, Bovo, Palombo, Zambrotta.

Referee: Tony Chapron (France)

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see also
Worthington lauds NI performance
09 Oct 10 |  Commonwealth Games
Taylor - NI unlucky not to win
09 Oct 10 |  Commonwealth Games
Euro 2012 qualifiers as they happened
08 Oct 10 |  Football
Worthington proud of NI display
08 Oct 10 |  Irish
Barton u-turn disappoints NI boss
29 Sep 10 |  Northern Ireland
N Ireland call up teenager Barton
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Italy boss wary of Windsor clash
08 Sep 10 |  Irish
Slovenia 0-1 Northern Ireland
03 Sep 10 |  Irish
NI display superb - Worthington
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Italy 3-0 Northern Ireland
06 Jun 09 |  Internationals

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