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WC Qualification Europe
August 14, 2013
• Windsor Park, Belfast
Referee: T. Hagen
• Attendance: 11178
M. Paterson 43'
That's about all from me this evening, thanks for following proceedings with us and make sure to stay with Goal.com for all the reaction from Northern Ireland's first victory of this qualification campaign. Goodnight!
Meanwhile, the result leaves Russia with a lot of work to do in order to overtake Portugal at the top of Group F as we near the business end of the campaign. Capello's side trail the Iberians by two points but do have a game in hand.
This victory is even more impressive when you take into account the players who were missing for Northern Ireland this evening. Jonny Evans, Paddy McCourt, Chris Brunt, Kyle Lafferty and David Healy were all missing for various reasons but O'Neill's young charges were positive and determined from the outset and thoroughly outplayed their superior opponents.
Russia failed to muster a shot on target in the whole match, with a smart header from Paterson enough to earn the hosts their first win in this World Cup qualifying campaign.
FULL-TIME! The Norwegian official blows his whistle as Windsor Park erupts for the first time in a very long time. Michael O'Neill's first win in charge comes at the tenth attempt and provides a massive blow to Russia's automatic qualification hopes.
30 seconds to go, here come Russia...
Last gasp stuff here as Russia throw everything forward but it just hasn't been the visitors' evening as McAuley thumps clear.
Windsor Park is absolutely bouncing now but there is also a nervous tension around as their side are within minutes of a first victory in 13 and first win under Michael O'Neill
When play resumes, Danny Lafferty gives away a needless free-kick but Carroll, having recovered from that hamstring tweak, comes out to collect confidently. Four minutes added on...
A bizarre hamstring injury for Northern Ireland goalkeeper Carroll has delayed play for now, as the Olympiacos stopper receives treatment in the penalty area.
Anxious moments for all inside Windsor Park as the clock ticks down, just a couple of minutes to go now and Russia are yet to have a shot on target.
Another change for the Irish and a well-earned rest for Paterson, who trudges off to a rapturous reception. Will Grigg is on to replace the striker for his competitive international debut.
Northern Ireland make their first change to provide fresh legs in midfield. McGinn is the player to come off after a superb shift and is replaced by Corry Evans.
Russia launch a break through Shirokov, but he skews a wayward effort well wide from 25 yards. Capello's charges have been nothing short of dismal this evening.
The home fans are sensing a famous victory here as they lift the noise levels inside Windsor Park. Expect a Russian onslaught in this closing moments...
Just over 10 minutes now for the hosts to cling on for a famous victory. Michael O'Neill is yet to use his bench but with so many absentees, he doesn't have many options.
The first sign of quality from Shirokov since the break, sliding a clever pass towards Kombarov just inside the penalty area. He attempts to cut inside on a favoured right foot, but gets his touch all wrong, allowing Davis to intercept and smash clear.
Martin Paterson's frustration boils over as he goes into the book. The Huddersfield Town striker has had a number of warnings by the referee but this time oversteps the mark by wrestling with Berezutski in the area.
Yellow Card Vasiliy Berezutskiy
Yellow Card Martin Paterson
After some treatment, the centre-back hobbles back on and resumes his position at the heart of the defence. However, he doesn't look comfortable and is limping heavily.
Steve Clarke and West Bromwich Albion fans look away now! Gareth McAuley has gone down holding his ankle and looks unlikely to continue. With the new season just days away, that's not good news for the Baggies or indeed the hosts here.
The flurry of changes have seemed to disrupt the Russians and they aren't threatening the Northern Ireland goal with any purpose.
Ferguson helps lift some pressure for the hosts after chasing a down a diagonal pass on the left wing. Anyukov senses the danger and hacks clear, with Ward up in support and able to a win a corner kick in the next passage of play.
Bystrov lashes a cross into the penalty area, with McAuley just able to hack clear under pressure from Dzyuba.
Yellow Card Daniel Lafferty
This game has come alive since the hosts went into the lead. Daniel Lafferty is booked just outside the penalty area. The full-back is slightly fortunate to get away with just a caution after petulantly tripping Dzyuba off the ball.
CONTROVERSY! Paterson thinks he's put the hosts 2-0 up but after heading in McAuley's centre, the striker's celebrations are halted by the linesman's flag. Replays suggest, he was JUST onside! That was a big decision
Shirokov tries a cheeky effort towards the bottom corner after winning the battle to take a free kick, with his effort deflected wide by the wall. Russia have been forced to use their third substitute already with Cheryshev unable to carry on. Samedov is on in his place, which should force the visitors into another change of shape as they chase the match.
Russia win a free kick just outside the penalty area as Davis brings down Shirokov with a late challenge from behind. A cue of players are waiting to take this free kick, but there is an enforced break in play as substitute Cheryshev receives treatment on the far side for a knee injury.
Capello, as expected, has made a couple of changes at the break to rather underline how poor his side were before the interval. Real Madrid B midfielder Cheryshev is on in place of Dzagoev while Dzyuba has replaced Kerzakhov in attack.
Russia have come out of the traps quickly in this second period and have started with purpose as they look to get themselves back in this game.
Back under-way in Belfast...
Russia simply cannot lose this game if they are to have any hope of securing the automatic qualification berth ahead of Portugal. Expect some harsh words from Capello at the break and quite possibly a change or two early in the second period. The visitors have kept the ball well without providing any penetration in the final third, with Kerzakhov largely isolated in attack.
During the interval, you can get in touch with your thoughts on the first-half, predictions for the second forty-five or even your views on the new season. Tweet @RyanBailey37
While the Eastern Europeans have edged the possession, you can't say Northern Ireland don't deserve to be in the lead. It's been a spirited performance by the hosts, who are without several key players and have gone 13 games without a victory.
And that's half-time! Windsor Park is bouncing as the Green and White army head into the interval a goal to the good thanks to Martin Paterson's header just moments ago. Fabio Capello has plenty of work to do at the break to turn this one around...
One of the smallest players on the pitch rises highest above the towering Russian defenders to meet Niall McGinn's cross dead on to give Akinfeev absolutely no chance of keeping that one out. That was a header of the highest quality from Martin Paterson!
Assist Niall McGinn
Goal Martin Paterson
GOAL! Martin Paterson puts the host 1-0 up just before half-time
OFF THE POST! A brilliant piece of quick thinking from Steve Davis has just sent Northern Ireland within inches of the opening goal. The captain picked out Ward with a free kick taken swiftly, allowing the Derby man space to shoot from 25 yards. His drive from distance has Akinfeev beaten all ends up but comes back off the inside of the far post, with Paterson unable to follow up on the rebound.
Much better spell of possession from the hosts lifts the Windsor Park faithful as the noise levels rise with just five minutes to go till the break. Michael O'Neill will inevitably be the happier manager so far as not a lot has happened.
Northern Ireland have really struggled to keep hold of possession when they get it and are lacking fire power in attack with Kyle Lafferty injured and top goalscorer David Healy watching from the stands.
More clever play from Dzagoev helps create space in the final third for Kerzakhov, who takes too long to unleash a strike at goal. His looping effort is blocked by a challenge from McAuley, sending the ball through to Carroll.
By the way, you can get in touch with your thoughts, predictions and comments via Twitter throughout the game and I'll post some of the best ones here. Tweet @RyanBailey37 to air your views...
Fabio Capello's men come forward to more pace and purpose and nearly pays dividends. Shirokov's deep cross picks out the unmarked Dzagoev but the striker can't direct his header on target as Oliver Norwood tracks back to put some pressure on the centre forward.
However, the Northern Ireland defence has hardly been tested despite Russia's dominance while neither 'keeper is to make a meaningful save thus far.
After a bright start, Michael O'Neill's side have been pegged back and this intimidating ground has gone a bit flat. The gulf in class is beginning to show.
The visitors are now in complete control of possession without conjuring up anything to worry the Northern Ireland defence, with Ignashevich spraying a stray diagonal pass out of play to end that sequence.
Northern Ireland are now pressed back deep inside their own half, with McGinn dribbling out of play to give the visitors another chance to attack out wide. Russia look prepared to stay patient and probe for the opener, but their passing has been slack so far this evening in midfield.
Davis and Cathcart do just enough to scramble clear a Fayzulin pass into the penalty area, with his shot on the follow-up flying well past Carroll's near post. At the other end McGinn beats three players in a slalom run towards the penalty area, with his shot blocked away by Ignashevich.
Russia are just starting to dictate possession as Carroll comes out to stop Kerzakhov meeting Dzagoev's cutting final pass.
The first signs of Russia's attacking unit in full flow as Anyukov bombs down the right wing, finding Kerzakhov with a neat pass inside. The forward decides to shoot first time but has his effort blocked clear to safety by a strong challenge from McAuley.
Paterson is angry with the Norwegian official after being denied the chance to burst forward by a late decision, with the forward penalised for high studs in a challenge on Berezutski. The hosts have lined up in quite an adventurous 4-4-2 judging from their early possession, as Paterson gets their third shot on target.
Niall McGinn, who has made a bright start to the season with Aberdeen, cuts inside and lets fly from 30 yards but fails to trouble Akinfeev.
Bright start by Michael O'Neill's side as Jamie Ward finds space in the box but fails to make proper contact with the cross.
Right, we're all set in Belfast. The hosts get us underway playing in their traditional green and white kit.
After seemingly shaking off an ankle injury, Manchester United centre-back Jonny Evans joins the long list of absentees for the hosts this evening. Evans is side-lined through illness while striker Kyle Lafferty was a late withdraw because of injury.
Russia: Akinfeev, Anyukov, Ignashevich, Berezutskiy, Kombarov, Denisov, Shirokov, Bystrov, Faizulin, Dzagoev Kerzhakov
Northern Ireland: Carroll, McAuley, Hughes, Cathcart, D.Lafferty, McGinn, Davis, Paterson, Ferguson, Norwood, Ward
The two teams are just about to emerge from the tight confinds of the Windsor Park dressing rooms. Just five minutes till kick-off, here are the line-ups...
The visitors are fighting for the automatic qualification spot with Portugal, and victory this evening would see Fabio Capello’s side regain top spot while the hosts are searching for their first win in this campaign.
Almost five months after this game was originally scheduled to take place, Northern Ireland welcome Russia to a slightly more temperate Windsor Park then those wintery conditions experienced in late March. Heavy snow and freezing temperatures in Belfast that week resulted in this World Cup Group F qualifying fixture being postponed twice but finally the two sides reconcile for this crucial game on the road to Brazil.
Hello and welcome to Goal'com's LIVE coverage of this evening's World Cup Qualifier between Northern Ireland and Russia from Windsor Park, Belfast. Kick off is at 7.45 BST
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