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Ian Baraclough hits out at 'very picky' officials after Austria's offside equaliser allowed to stand against Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland manager Ian Baraclough has explained his frustration at Sunday evening's 'very, very picky' match officials after his side lost 2-1 in Austria.

The visitors had been leading with 10 minutes left on the clock, thanks to Josh Magennis' opener, but aLouis Schaub leveller turned the tide and teed up a late winner from Adrian Grbic.

It was Schaub's equaliser that was chief among Baraclough's complaints, allowed to stand by Italian referee Maurizio Mariani, with a late red card for NI assistant Austin MacPhee only exacerbating his annoyance.

"I've just seen the footage again and the first goal was offside," he said. "You rely on the officials to get things right and tonight they were very, very picky.

"I've had my assistant coach sent off for venting his frustration, not at the officials or any players, but just his frustration and stuff like that winds you up.

"You expect them to get the key decisions right."

The result capped a miserable few days for Baraclough and his team, adding to Thursday's Euro 2020 play-off defeat.

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Now, if UEFA's control, ethics and disciplinary body award Romania the points from their cancelled clash with Norway, it will be followed by relegation to League C in the Nations League.

“I thought they were excellent tonight,” said Baracough, proud of his players' efforts.

“I thought they responded really well from the disappointment of the other night.

“I thought their shape was good, their mentality was good, we were patient, knowing they were going to have a lot of the ball and I feel for the players again. It’s tough to be here saying we are 10 minutes away from winning a game."

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