Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

Northern Ireland player ratings v Russia

Roy Carroll
Roy Carroll - 8
Made smart decision to race off line early on to stop Dzagoev's progress and was also clever enough to release the ball before sliding over the 18-yard line. Didn't have a lot else to do
Aaron Hughes - 8
His long ball down the right wing began the move for Martin Paterson's goal and as usual he was unfussy in defence. His experience was vital in keeping the defence tight
Craig Cathcart - 9
Seemed unaffected by his late call into the team. Looked comfortable throughout and rose superbly to head the ball back across the box for the goal that was disallowed
Gareth McAuley - 9
Fancy pirouette 25 yards from his own goal had the fans off their seats, even though he then kicked the ball out of play. Handled 6ft 5 Russian sub Dzyuba with no problems in the second half
Daniel Lafferty - 8
Showed great alertness to take quick free kick that led to Jamie Ward hitting the post a couple of minutes before Northern Ireland scored. Grew stronger as the 90 minutes progressed
Niall McGinn - 8
Provided great delivery from right wing for Martin Paterson to head home two minutes before half-time. Was a threat throughout and looks to be coming of age as an international player
Shane Ferguson - 8
Impressive going forward and industrious when working the other way. Put in fantastic cross for the goal that was disallowed and delivery from the left was consistently good throughout
Steven Davis - 8
Able to find space to receive ball every time a team-mate was in trouble. Moved the ball well and kept trying to find the pass to get Northern Ireland on the attack. Win was first as captain
Oliver Norwood - 8
Got through amazing amount of work in midfield in a disciplined display that required him to do more without the ball than he was ever going to do with it. Long international career awaits
Jamie Ward - 8
Michael O'Neill rates the Derby County striker highly and last night he showed why. Was inches away from scoring his first international goal when hit post and lively going forward
Martin Paterson - 9
Probably his best international performance to date. Not only did he score goal and have another disallowed, he worked hard, was always available and never gave the defenders peace
Best of the bench: Corry Evans (for McGinn, 81 mins) - 6
Sent on to keep things tight in midfield and did exactly that. Will be hoping to nail down starting slot in future

We look at how each Northern Ireland player performed in the team's landmark victory against Russia at Windsor Park.


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