Northern Ireland sweep aside San Marino

Northern Ireland strolled to a 4-0 win against a 10-man San Marino side in their 2018 FIFA World Cup Group C qualifier at Windsor Park on Saturday.

  • Northern Ireland 4 San Marino 0
  • Davis penalty makes it 1-0
  • Palazzi receives second yellow
  • Lafferty doubles the lead
  • Ward grabs a third for the home side
  • Lafferty completes his brace to make it 4-0

Match summary

Kyle Lafferty scored two late goals as Norn Iron finished strongly to complete their expected win over the minnows.

Steven Davis gave Michael O'Neill's men the lead with a 26th-minute penalty.

San Marino's Mirko Palazzi was sent off early in the second half but Northern Ireland left it until the final 12 minutes to make sure of the victory.

Lafferty flicked in number two, Ward lashed home a third in the 86th-minute, before Lafferty fourth in stoppage time.

Full report

The Green Army dominated proceedings from the first whistle but it took just over 18 minutes for the first clear cut chance with Jamie Ward threatening on the wing with his pace and fizzing crosses into the area.

At that point the home side enjoyed over 70% of the possession and it looked likely that the deadlock would be broken.

Five minutes later Josh Magennis looked to get on the end of Shane Ferguson's cross from the left flank but won a penalty after being bundled over by two San Marino defenders.

Captain Steven Davis stepped up to make it open the scoring despite goalkeeper Aldo Simoncini guessing the right way and getting a slight hand to the powerfully struck effort.

On the half-hour mark Mirko Palazzi was given a yellow card with a late challenge on Niall McGinn that caused a bit of an uproar at the touch line.

However, that was the last action of the half as Michael O'Neill's men took a slender lead into the break.

Four minutes into the second half Palazzi received a second bookable offence after trying to block goalkeeper Michael McGovern throwing the ball out.

The sending off opened tons of space for the rest of the fixture for the late flurry of goals.

There is nothing San Marino's heroic goalkeeper could do about the second of the night. 

Shane Ferguson crossed from the left and substitute Kyle Lafferty turned it past Simoncini from close range.

After making heavy weather of the minnows in the game Jamie Ward and Lafferty's second in the last five minutes of the tie – gave the fans something to shout about.

The 4-0 win puts Northern Ireland in third place in World Cup Qualifying Group C on four points.