Belfast Telegraph

Euro 2016 qualifier: Travelling army left deflated as Northern Ireland toppled by Romania

By Claire Williamson

Northern Ireland fans are continuing to dream - despite a defeat in the follow-up to their Herculean win in Greece.

Living rooms across the country were left as deflated as the away end in the Arena Nationala as Northern Ireland lost 2-0 to Romania in their fourth Euro 2016 qualifier.

It followed the heroic victory against Greece which saw Northern Ireland win their first three European Championship qualifiers for the first time ever.

Once again, bars and living rooms across the country were full of football fans willing the Green and White Army to an unprecedented fourth consecutive win.

Ahead of the match, broadcaster and pundit Colin Murray tweeted: "Two hours and counting! If Northern Ireland win tonight, I might have a night out that would make the Wolf Of Wall Street blush!"

An uneventful first half raised hopes the visitors could depart Bucharest with a priceless point, but two quick-fire second half goals condemned Michael O'Neill's men to a first defeat of the campaign.

The loss dealt just a minor blow to hopes of qualification for the finals, yet social media was crammed with fans voicing their despair. One tweeted: "Like a dagger through the heart. Come on GAWA. We've came back before."

Others, however, were determined to remain positive, with one fan tweeting: "Hang in there lads. Doing us proud."

The defeat relegated Northern Ireland to second in the group on nine points - still a good base from which to clinch qualification.

One hopeful fan said: "Disappointing yes but 9 points from 4 games, 3 away from home, can't complain! Great position to be in! The next 2 games are crucial."

The next qualifier is at Windsor Park against Finland on March 29, with six games left to play, four of which are at home.

Down but far from out after a tough night for Northern Ireland in Bucharest 

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