MX23RW : Thursday, April 18 13:23:28| >> :600:16216461:16216461:
Oct 12, 2018 at 7.45pm UK
Attendance: 22,300
Austria
1-0
Northern Ireland
FT(HT: 0-0)

Result: Marko Arnautovic inflicts misery on Northern Ireland in Vienna

Michael O’Neill’s men beaten in Austria

Northern Ireland’s Nations League worries deepened as Austria’s Marko Arnautovic condemned them to a 1-0 defeat in Vienna.

The West Ham striker scored the only goal in the 71st minute to leave Michael O’Neill’s men without a point from their opening two matches in League B’s Group 3.

With the risk of relegation growing, they now need to win Monday’s match against Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo to keep their fate in their own hands.

Austria’s Marko Arnautovic (centre) celebrates
Austria’s Marko Arnautovic (centre) celebrates (John Walton/PA)

Arnautovic, a constant thorn in the Northern Ireland defence, sprung the offside trap to get on to Peter Zulj’s pass before slotting the ball past Bailey Peacock-Farrell to settle a close contest.

Following Kyle Lafferty’s shock decision to withdraw himself from the squad at the last minute, Josh Magennis was the man to start up front for Northern Ireland, but the Bolton man’s first major contribution was in defence.

His somewhat awkward touch did the job in diverting Marcel Sabitzer’s shot over the crossbar as he fired through the crowd when Northern Ireland could only half-clear an early corner.

Northern Ireland now have it all to do
Northern Ireland now have it all to do (John Walton/PA)

Bailey Peacock-Farrell – involved in the mix-up which gifted Bosnia and Herzegovina a crucial second goal in Belfast last month – then committed a major mental error when he picked up Jonny Evans’ back-pass to give away an indirect free-kick, and the Leeds stopper was grateful to see Arnautovic fire into the wall.

Northern Ireland did not get a sniff of goal until after the half-hour mark when Ollie Norwood’s raking ball found the run of Shane Ferguson, but the Millwall man – making his first start in almost two years – got his angles all wrong to head high and wide.

All the chances that had been missing in the first half seemed to arrive at one when the second half began.

First, Austria could only half-clear Stuart Dallas’ long throw and Paddy McNair tried to curl the rebound home, but it was an easy enough save for Heinz Lindner.

Northern Ireland were backed by a strong crowd but were unable to get the result
Northern Ireland were backed by a strong crowd but were unable to get the result (John Walton/PA)

The hosts then went straight to the other end where a mis-hit clearance fell kindly for Arnautovic, who bundled his way past Dallas before hitting a low shot which Peacock-Farrell diverted wide.

The Leeds man then denied Sabitzer after his turn and shot, while Steven Davis dragged his shot wide after being played through on goal by Dallas.

Arnautovic wanted a penalty when he tried to cut in from the right and tumbled over Jamal Lewis in the 65th minute, but the referee showed no interest.

He would soon have his goal regardless, providing the one real moment of class in the match.

And it was almost 2-0 when Stefan Lainer turned Valentino Lazaro’s corner into the side-netting.

O’Neill went into all-out attack mode as Rotherham striker Kyle Vassell came on to make his debut, swiftly followed by Will Grigg, and the Wigan man was inches away from an equaliser when he twisted to head McNair’s 84th-minute corner on to the far post.

But that was as close as they would come, and the match ended with Arnautovic missing a fine chance to make it 2-0 as he fired wide from a tight angle.

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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool34267177205785
2Manchester CityMan City33272486226483
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs332211064343067
4Arsenal33206766402666
5Chelsea34206857362166
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd33197763441964
7Leicester CityLeicester34145154645147
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves33138124142-147
9Everton34137144644246
10Watford33137134748-146
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham34126164252-1042
12Bournemouth34125174961-1241
13Crystal Palace34116174046-639
14Burnley34116174260-1839
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle34108163243-1138
16Southampton3399153954-1536
17Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton3396183253-2133
18Cardiff CityCardiff3494213063-3331
RFulham3455243276-4420
RHuddersfield TownHuddersfield3435261967-4814

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