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Steve Wilson
reports from Belfast.
 real 14k

Sammy McIlroy
"We didn't surrender."
 real 14k

Wednesday, 16 August, 2000, 21:15 GMT 22:15 UK
Healy heroics in vain for McIlroy's men

Northern Ireland 1-2 Yugoslavia

David Healy kept up his goal-a-game international record but it wasn't enough for Northern Ireland to avoid a 2-1 defeat at home to Yugoslavia.

The young Manchester United reserve striker pounced just before half-time to score his fourth goal in as many games under Sammy McIlroy.

But second-half goals from Mateja Kezman and Predrag Mijatovic gave the Euro 2000 quarter-finalists victory in the friendly match in Belfast.

Still, it was a spirited performance from a Northern Ireland team depleted by a string of withdrawals.

  Northern Ireland under McIlroy
Feb 2000 v Luxembourg (a) 3-1
Mar 2000 v Malta (a) 3-0
Apr 2000 v Hungary (h) 0-1
Aug 2000 v Yugoslavia (h) 1-2
Premiership stars Steve Lomas, Neil Lennon and Gerry Taggart were among the big name absentees.

Manager McIlroy will hope to have them back for the opening World Cup qualifying match at home to Malta on September 2.

On target

Healy can be sure of his place after hitting the target yet again.

He burst on to the international scene just six months ago with two goals on his debut away to Luxembourg.

And the 21-year-old from Killyleagh in Co Down followed that up with another in Malta in March.

But this was Healy's first goal in front of his home Windsor Park crowd. He took it superbly after being put through by Manchester City's Jeff Whitley.

Maik Taylor
Maik Taylor: Missed cross
While Yugoslavia currently enjoy a top 10 FIFA ranking, Northern Ireland are rated down at 98th, nestling between Syria and Indonesia.

Superior class

And Yugoslavia's superior class showed in the second half as they moved up a gear to secure a deserved win.

They almost equalised in the 55th minute when Milosevic powered through on the left only to see his shot rebound off the post.

The ball fell to Mijatovic on the right who volleyed against the same upright.

In the 63rd minute Northern Ireland gifted Yugoslavia their equaliser.

Fulham keeper Maik Taylor hesitated as he came to collect Ivan Dudic's cross and substitute substitute Mateja Kezman scored with a free header.

The Yugoslavs pressed for a second goal and they got it when Mijatovic converted Dudic's cross in the 78th minute to give the visitors a 2-1 win.

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15 Aug 00 |  Northern Ireland
IFA threat to Premiership clubs
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