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  Wednesday, 27 March, 2002, 20:33 GMT
NI held by lowly Liechtenstein
Sammy McIlroy saw his Northern Ireland team held to a draw in Liechtensetein
Sammy McIlroy's team failed to score in Vaduz

Liechtenstein 0-0 Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland suffered the embarrassment of failing to beat lowly Liechtenstein on Wednesday.

To add to a miserable night for Sammy McIlroy's side, skipper Steve Lomas was sent-off for an elbowing offence.

Yet the dismissal should not excuse what must rank as Northern Ireland's worst performance of McIlroy's 17-match reign.

Liechtenstein had lost their last 14 internationals and are 60 places below Northern Ireland in the Fifa world rankings.

They have also managed just one competitive win in their eight-year history.

But McIlroy's men could not find a way through in what was a disappointing performance in Vaduz.

The dismissal of Lomas came in the 48th minute for a supposed elbow on Thomas Beck.

NI skipper was dismissed for a supposed elbowing offence.
Steve Lomas was sent-off in the 48th minute

The Liechtenstein player fell to the ground holding his face, and despite the NI skipper's claims that Beck was play acting, referee Rene Rogalla pulled out the red card.

Lomas will now miss the 17 April glamour friendly against Spain in Belfast.

After the dismissal, David Healy missed a great chance to give Northern Ireland the lead.

Jim Magilton played the ball through, but the normally-reliable Preston striker fired his right-foot shot into the side-netting.

Liechtenstein then went even closer with Thomas Nigg twice being denied.

First Mark Williams blocked his shot and then, when the ball was played back into the box, Nigg's header was cleared off the line by Damien Johnson.

Grant McCann was then stretchered off and Shaun Holmes came on for his debut.

Northern Ireland's best couple of chances came near the end when Magilton and substitute Stuart Elliott fired wide.

Liechtenstein: Jehle, Martin Stocklasa, Gigon, Hassler, Harry Zech, Michael Stocklasa, Martin Telser, Ronny Buchel, Thomas Beck, Thomas Nigg, Matthias Beck. Subs: Heeb, Hefti, Jurgen Ospelt, Christof Ritter, Marco Buchel, Burgmeier, Wolfinger.

Northern Ireland: Taylor, Lomas, McCann, McCartney, Williams, Gillespie, Mulryne, Magilton, Johnson, Feeney, Healy. Subs: Carroll, Craigan, Toner, Elliott, Michael Hughes, McVeigh, Holmes.

Referee: R Rogalla (Switzerland)

See also:

27 Mar 02 |  Football
McIlroy left with depleted squad
24 Mar 02 |  Football
Horlock is latest NI casualty
13 Feb 02 |  World Cup 2002
Poles outclass Northern Ireland
27 Mar 02 |  Football
France hammer Scotland
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