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Release Date: 11/09/2012

IN THE end Northern Ireland had to settle for a draw from tonight's World Cup qualifying game with Luxembourg at Windsor Park.

However, if it wasn't for the woodwork and some unfortunate offside decisions the result could have been so much different for Michael O'Neill's side.

But there's no disguising the fact this was a disappointing outcome from a game that nothing less than victory was essential.

The evening started with so much promise when, after a number of chances, Dean Shiels fired Northern Ireland in front with a 14th minute deft flick over Jonathan Joubert after getting on the end of a defence splitting Jonny Evans pass.

Evans himself thought he had made it 2-0 seven minutes later but his 'goal' was ruled out after Serbian referee Vlado Glodjovic had spotted an infringement.

Ten minutes after that another effort was disallowed, this time a Kyle Lafferty drive into the top corner but the FC Sion man had strayed marginally offside.

Northern Ireland came close again in the minutes immediately before the break with Shiels, Lafferty and then Chris Baird all failing to convert decent opportunities.

The ball was in the Luxembourg net once more on the hour but, again, Lafferty had drifted offside as he turned in a low Shane Ferguson cross from the left.

The points should have been secured in the 85th minute after Steve Davis teed up Chris Brunt only for the West Brom man to turn his shot against the base of an upright.

And what a costly miss that proved to be when, just a couple of minutes later, Daniel da Mota grabbed the goal which earned Luxembourg a point but, perhaps typical of Northern Ireland's fortune this evening, his shot appeared to be drifting wide before it took a deflection off the unwitting Ryan McGivern and past Roy Carroll.

Elsewhere in Group F today Russia thumped Israel 4-0 in Ramat Gan while Portugal needed three goals in the closing 25 minutes to defeat Azerbaijan in Braga.

Northern Ireland: Carroll, Hughes, Baird, McAuley, J. Evans, McGivern, Ferguson, Davis, Brunt, Shiels, Lafferty subs Mannus (not used), Cathcart (not used), C. Evans (not used), Carson (not used), Ward (replaced Ferguson 75), Hodson (not used), Norwood (replaced Shiels 83), Clingan (not used), Grigg (not used)

Luxembourg: Joubert, Schnell, Bukvic, Blaise, Mutsch, Gerson, Payal, Janisch, Bettmer, da Mota, Joachim subs Philipps (replaced Gerson 50), de Sousa (not used), Collette (not used), Hoffmann (replaced Bettmer 90+3), Jans (not used), Deville (replaced Joachim 46)


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  • Northern Ireland v. Luxembourg 11th September 2012

    Steven Davis is dejected following tonight's draw with Luxembourg

    Picture: William Cherry/

  • Northern Ireland v. Luxembourg 11th September 2012

    Dean Shiels celebrates his goal

    Picture: Russell Pritchard/

  • Northern Ireland v. Luxembourg 11th September 2012

    Tonight's starting XI

    Picture: Darren Kidd/

  • Northern Ireland v. Luxembourg 11th September 2012

    Ryan McGivern contests a header with Tom Schnell

    Picture: William Cherry/

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