NI Secure Win Over Czech Republic

Northern Ireland enjoyed a 3-2 win against the Czech Republic at their friendly in Prague on Monday evening.

The game marks the first away win in a friendly for Michael O'Neill's men since August 2006.

Paddy McNair secured the first goal on just nine minutes in, nipping in ahead of a defender to find the bottom corner after Boyce delivered a low cross.

It was 2-0 on 23 minutes, with McNair turning provider with a corner which Flanagan turned goalwards only to be blocked, but Jonny Evans was on hand to tuck away the loose ball at the back post.

McNair remarkably doubled his tally five minutes from the break after getting on the end of an inch perfect Steven Davis through ball to confidently take it round keeper Jiri Pavlenka and into the net.
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An ideal first 45 minutes for Northern Ireland, though not without warning signs that the Czech Republic were a different beast in the second half. Having made four substitutions, Ladislav Krejci sent a curling effort towards the bottom corner just a couple of minutes in, but McGovern did well to gather at the second attempt.

The hosts hit back with two goals in as many minutes midway through the second half.

On 67 minutes substitute Vladimir Darida reduced the deficit with a powerful strike towards the right corner and although McGovern did make contact he was unable to prevent the shot finding the net.

Sixty seconds later it was 3-2 with Alex Kral suddenly making a contest out of the game with a sublime finish beyond McGovern after collecting a flick from Zdenek Ondrasek.

When time was called, the local side held on to secure the confidence boosting victory ahead of next month's crucial qualifiers against Northern Ireland and Germany.


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