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Match Analysis: Northern Ireland 1-1 Hungary

Sports Mole analyses the Euro 2016 qualifier between Northern Ireland and Hungary to decide whether the 1-1 draw was a fair result.

Kyle Lafferty struck in the 93rd minute to rescue a point for Northern Ireland in their Euro 2016 qualifying clash against Hungary this evening.

Richard Guzmics looked to have fired the visitors to victory when he found the net from close range, while the hosts were reduced to 10 men as Chris Baird was sent off for two bookable offences.

However, Lafferty pounced on a loose ball into the box to fire his strike into the roof of the net to earn Michael O'Neill's men a share of the spoils at Windsor Park.

Here, Sports Mole analyses the match to see if the outcome was fair.

Match statistics

NORTHERN IRELAND
Shots: 8
On target: 5
Possession: 48%
Corners: 5
Fouls: 15

HUNGARY
Shots: 10
On target: 2
Possession: 52%
Corners: 1
Fouls: 20

Was the result fair?

Yes. Northern Ireland did not deserve to win the game, but they did enough to earn a point from the match. O'Neill's men struggled to carve out a clear-cut opportunity for the majority of the contest as they lacked quality in the final third of the pitch. The home side were also tentative in and around the box, which led to missed opportunities. Hungary were solid at the back for 92 minutes before Lafferty managed to find a way through, which will be of a huge disappointment to manager Bernd Storck. The visitors offered little in attack themselves and benefited from a huge error from Michael McGovern for their goal, so both sides have reason to be satisfied with the point.

Northern Ireland's performance

The occasion may have got to a few of the Ireland players this evening as they struggled for quality in the final third. They managed to control the game for large periods, but they failed to test Gabor Kiraly despite having numerous chances in the final third. Oliver Norwood was especially guilty of wasting several free kicks in and around the box, which on another day could have put the Hungary backline under more pressure. Lafferty was outstanding in the final third as he won the set pieces and battled for 95 minutes on his own against Guzmics and Tamas Kadar, winning the majority of the battles. He could have benefited from more help from the midfield where Steven Davis and Norwood seemed reluctant to push forward. At the back, O'Neill's men were solid until McGovern's mistake put them behind. A decent outing, but plenty to build on for their next qualifier.

Hungary's performance

Storck would have been elated with his side's display until the 93rd minute when Lafferty dashed the visitors' hopes of securing the win at Windsor Park. Hungary were solid at the back for the majority of the match and were dominant in the air in their own box, bar a few headers from Lafferty. Their midfield seemed to win the battle in the middle of the park for control of territory, while Krisztian Nemeth and Zoltan Gera offered a threat in the final third at times. It was almost the complete away performance as they stole the goal and held out well until Kiraly just didn't get enough on his parry from Niall McGinn's shot and a red shirt could not react before Laffety pounced. It is not over for Hungary for their hopes of qualification, but in truth they needed the win more than Ireland.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Kyle Lafferty: The Norwich City striker led the line brilliantly for O'Neill's men all evening. He held the ball well in the final third and won the majority of his aerial challenges. The 27-year-old was a willing runner and did his best to stretch the defence when he could. The forward showed his predatory instincts, despite it being late in the game, as he fired home from close range to rescue a point for the hosts.

Biggest gaffe McGovern will desperately want to forget his mistake as his side may have booked their place in Euro 2016 had he not dropped a simple cross into the box at the feet of Guzmics, but he failed to grasp and the defender profited by netting his first international goal.

Referee performance Cuneyt Cakir was a bit too keen on his whistle as he gave 35 fouls in the contest, which disrupted the flow of the match. The yellow cards he did give out were warranted, although the sending-off of Chris Baird took a while to understand. Replays show that the midfielder had indeed made a previous bad challenge in the lead-up to his second tackle on Zsolt Kalmar, which warranted the two bookings and his early bath.

What next?

Northern Ireland: O'Neill's side face Greece at Windsor Park in their next qualifier where a point could see them qualify for the championships next year.

Hungary: Storck's men host the Faroe Islands in their qualifier.

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Kyle Lafferty (R) of Northern Ireland and Richard Guzmics (L) of Hungary in action during the Euro 2016 Group F qualifying match at Windsor Park on September 7, 2015 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
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