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Player Ratings: Finland 1-1 Northern Ireland

Sports Mole looks at which players stood out as Northern Ireland draw 1-1 with Finland in Helsinki to finish top of their Euro 2016 qualifying group.

Northern Ireland ended their Euro 2016 qualification campaign top of Group F after a 1-1 draw with Finland this evening.

Craig Cathcart scored a deserved opener for the visitors in the first half after Northern Ireland had dominated proceedings early on.

Finland responded well to going behind, controlling the second half and netting an equaliser before the final whistle through Paulus Arajuuri.

Here, Sports Mole looks at who stood out on an important night for Northern Ireland in Helsinki.

Craig Cathcart of Northern Ireland is mobbed after scoring the opening goal during the UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifying match between Finland and Northern Ireland at the Olympic Stadium on October 11, 2015 in Helsinki, Finland. © Getty Images



FINLAND

Goal

Lukas Hradecky: Had little to do for much of the game, but almost gifted Northern Ireland an early goal after blasting a clearance straight at Juhani Ojala, before the rebound fell to Stuart Dallas. Was not helped by his defence for Cathcart's goal. (6/10)

Defence

Ville Jalasto: Looked vulnerable at times in the first half as Dallas impressed, but improved as the game went on. Showed a willingness to attack for his side, although his end product lacked any real quality. (6/10)

Paulus Arajuuri: Did well to deal with the physical threat of Kyle Lafferty throughout the match, and made a couple of important interceptions to prevent Northern Irish attacks. Took his goal really well with a composed finish. (7/10)

Juhani Ojala: Much like his defensive partner Arajuuri. Rarely beaten by the physicality of Lafferty, although Josh Magennis did manage to cause a couple of problems for Ojala and his side late on. (6/10)

Jere Uronen: Uninspiring display from the left-back, who offered little in attack for the hosts and struggled with the pace of Niall McGinn in the first half. (5/10)

Midfield

Rasmus Schuller: Created next to nothing for his side from the wing, although he worked hard to win the ball on occasions. (5/10)

Sakari Mattila: The Fulham man worked hard to win the ball throughout the match, but like his midfield partner Tim Sparv offered little in the way of creativity. (6/10)

Tim Sparv: More inventive than Mattila in midfield, but was unable to create any clear opportunities throughout the match. Missed a good opportunity to equalise in the first half. (6/10)

Alexander Ring: Finland arguably improved when Ring was replaced early on, although that owed more to the impression made by Robin Lod. Had an optimistic effort on goal before coming off injured before half time. (5/10)

Attack

Joel Pohjanpalo: A bad night for the Fortuna Dusseldorf man, who missed a host of chances for his side, including a great opportunity from close range after the break. Could have helped his side to a victory. (4/10)

Berat Sadik: Another Finnish attacker that offered little threat for his side. Had very few attempts on goal, although he did okay to hold the ball up for his teammates at times. (5/10)

Substitutes

Robin Lod: Looked bright after replacing Ring before half time, and was his side's most creative player throughout. Caused a number of problems on both flanks for Northern Ireland's defence, and should have recorded an assist on 50 minutes after finding Pohjanpalo in a great position. (7/10)

Teemu Pukki: Did little to affect the match after replacing Sadik on 66 minutes. (5/10)

Kasper Hamalainen: Made a real difference for his side in the game's dying moments. Provided a point of attack for his team late on, and set up Arajuuri for his side's late equaliser. (7/10)



NORTHERN IRELAND

Goal

Michael McGovern: Had little to do for much of the game, as Finland's shots on target were fairly tame. Produced a stunning save before half time to deny Pohjanpalo, but could have done better in defending Finland's goal. (6/10)

Defence

Paddy McNair: Did okay in the first half before taking a knock. Given a tough time by substitute Robin Lod before being replaced by McLaughlin in the second half. (5/10)

Gareth McAuley: Had a couple of shaky moments late in the first half, but otherwise did well to fend off Finland's attack. (6/10)

Craig Cathcart: Impressed as Northern Ireland's replacement for the injured Jonny Evans. Defended comfortably and took his goal well. (7/10)

Chris Brunt: Desperately unlucky not to get on the scoresheet in the first half after a couple of fierce efforts on goal struck the back of Northern Ireland players. Did well in defence, but was rarely threatened by Schuller. (7/10)

Midfield

Steven Davis: Man of the match performance from the Northern Ireland captain, who typified his team's display. Worked hard to retrieve the ball throughout the match, and looked dangerous going forward, particularly in the first half. (8/10)

Chris Baird: An effective display from the veteran midfielder. Made a number of tackles and interceptions to break down Finnish attacks, and looked to bring the ball forwards when given the opportunity. (7/10)

Oliver Norwood: An effective display in midfield from the Reading man, who caused Finland problems with his set pieces throughout the game. Struggled to maintain possession in the second half though. (6/10)

Attack

Niall McGinn: Very effective for Northern Ireland, particularly in the first half. Had the beating of Uronen throughout, and put in a good cross for Cathcart's headed goal. (7/10)

Kyle Lafferty: Worked hard for his teammates before being replaced by Josh Magennis. Looked a little off the pace at times though, and failed to reach the end of some decent low crosses. (6/10)

Stuart Dallas: Looked bright in the first half, but his effectiveness waned in the second. Should have opened the scoring for his side after being gifted an opportunity by Hradecky early on. (6/10)

Substitutes

Conor McLaughlin: Defended okay for his side after replacing Paddy McNair, and offered more in attack than the Manchester United youngster. (6/10)

Shane Ferguson: Looked bright on a couple of occasions for his side before the final whistle. (6/10)

Josh Magennis: Caught the eye after replacing Lafferty on 79 minutes, his pace caused the Finland defence a few problems. (7/10)


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Craig Cathcart of Northern Ireland is mobbed after scoring the opening goal during the UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifying match between Finland and Northern Ireland at the Olympic Stadium on October 11, 2015 in Helsinki, Finland.
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