MX23RW : Monday, December 10 22:45:37

Result: Northern Ireland Under-21 finish Euro 2019 qualifiers on a high

Mark Sykes’ second-half header was enough to seal second place in Group Two.

Northern Ireland Under-21s enjoyed a 1-0 victory over 10-man Slovakia but narrowly missed out on a play-off place in their qualification campaign for Euro 2019.

Mark Sykes’ second-half header was enough to seal second place in Group Two, behind Spain, but Portugal claimed the final play-off place with their 3-1 victory over Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Regardless of the disappointment of missing out on progressing, Ian Baraclough’s team experienced an encouraging campaign in which they won seven of their 10 qualifiers, including last month’s via a 2-1 scoreline at traditional powers Spain.

They made a promising start at Belfast’s Windsor Park, when Shayne Lavery went close, and then when they had a penalty appeal turned own as Paul Smyth fell in the area.

Slovakia were then reduced to 10 men shortly before half-time when Laszlo Benes, who had already been booked for handball, received his second yellow card for a clumsy challenge on Jamie McDonagh.

It was in the 62nd minute when the hosts took the lead. From McDonagh’s cross on the right wing, Mark Sykes routinely sent a close-range header into the back of the net.

Slovakia captain Denis Vavro thought he had scored an equalising goal with a close-range tap-in, but saw his effort disallowed for offside.

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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool1613303462842
2Manchester CityMan City1613214593641
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs16120430161436
4Chelsea16104233132034
5Arsenal16104235201534
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd167542826226
7Everton166642319424
8Bournemouth167272526-123
9Leicester CityLeicester166462120122
10Wolverhampton WanderersWolves166461719-222
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham166372325-221
12Watford166372023-321
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton166371922-321
14Cardiff CityCardiff1642101530-1514
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle163491322-913
16Crystal Palace1633101323-1012
17Burnley1633101532-1712
18Huddersfield TownHuddersfield1624101027-1710
19Southampton161691330-179
20Fulham1623111640-249

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