UEFA Nations League Round-up: Northern Ireland concede five at home to Norway while Italy upset the Netherlands in Amsterdam

Tue, Sep 08 2020

Jamal Lewis of Northern Ireland. Credit: Clare McCahill (ETPhotos)

Ian Baraclough’s honeymoon period as Northern Ireland manager hit a snag on Monday evening as his side were beaten 5-1 by Norway at Windsor Park.

Erling Braut Haaland and Alexander Sorloth each scored a brace after Southampton’s Mohamed Elyounoussi had opened the scoring for the visitors.

Paddy McNair had briefly levelled things up during a frenetic opening seven minutes that saw three goals scored but parity lasted less than 60 seconds.

There were just two minutes on the clock when Elyounoussi broke the deadlock with a composed finish from close range before McNair levelled up four minutes later.

A stunning volley from Haaland put Norway back in front moments later before Trabzonspor striker Sorloth made it 3-1 inside 20 minutes.

Haaland laid on the fourth for Sorloth early in the second half as a lightning-quick Norway counter attack finished with the Borussia Dortmund man squaring for his strike partner.

Another outstanding finish from Haaland made it 5-1 as the Northern Ireland defence was pulled apart once more and the 20-year-old took full advantage.

Elsewhere in Group B, Romania stunned Austria with a 3-2 win away from home thanks to goals from Denis Alibec, Dragos Grigore and Alexandru Maxim.

Alibec put Romania in front after just three minutes but Christoph Baumgartner registered his first senior international goal to level things up midway through the first half.

Grigore and Maxim struck after the break to make it 3-1 and, while Karim Onisiwo pulled one back late on, Romania held on to go top of the group.

In Group 2, Scotland fought back from behind to beat a hugely inexperienced Czech Republic side 2-1 in Olomouc.

The game almost didn’t go ahead as the Czechs were forced to quarantine their entire squad following a Covid-19 scare, but an entirely new panel with just two capped players was called up.

That didn’t stop the home side taking the lead after 12 minutes thanks to Jakub Pesek.

However, goals from Lyndon Dykes and Ryan Christie, his second penalty in as many games, saw Steve Clarke's side to victory.

An injury-time goal from Shon Zalman Weissman rescued a point for Israel at home to Ireland’s Euro 2020 play-off opponents Slovakia, who led early through Michal Duris.

In the early game in Group 4, Belarus ran out 2-1 winners away to Kazakhstan thanks to second-half strikes from Maksim Bordachev and Vitali Lisakovich.

Bordachev opened the scoring eight minutes after the break and, though Abat Aimbetov equalized soon after, Lisakovich added Belarus’ second four minutes from time to seal the points.

And Elseid Hysaj was sent off late on to compound Albania’s misery as Donatas Kazlauskas’ second-half strike earned Lithuania the win in Tirana.

In League 1, Italy moved top of Group 1 as Nicolo Barella struck in first-half injury time to earn Roberto Mancini’s side the points in the Netherlands.

Poland were also away winners as goals from Kamil Glik and Kamil Grosicki overturned a first-half opener from Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Haris Hajradinovic.