Belfast Telegraph

Josh Magennis the hero as Northern Ireland leave it late to beat Belarus and top Euro 2020 qualifying group

Northern Ireland 2-1 Belarus

Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis celebrates his 87th minute winner.
Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis celebrates his 87th minute winner.
Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis scores the winner during the European Qualifier at Windsor Park in Belfast on March 24th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis scores the winner during the European Qualifier at Windsor Park in Belfast on March 24th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis celebrates with winning goalscorer Josh Magennis.
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland 24th March 2019 European Championship 2020 Qualifying Round at the National Stadium at Windsor Park, Belfast. Northern Ireland Vs Belarus. Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis is congratulated by captain Steven Davis after he scores to make it 2-1. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland 24th March 2019 European Championship 2020 Qualifying Round at the National Stadium at Windsor Park, Belfast. Northern Ireland Vs Belarus. Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis celebrates after he scores to make it 2-1. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com
Josh Magennis came off the bench to net an all-important winner.
Josh Magennis celebrates netting the winner on 87 minutes.
Pacemaker Belfast 24-3-19 Northern Ireland v Belarus - Euro 2020 Qualifier Northern Ireland's Jonny Evans celebrates his goal during this evening's game at the National Stadium, Belfast. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland's Jonny Evans (centre) celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game with team-mates during the UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifying, Group C match at Windsor Park, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday March 24, 2019. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. No commercial use.
Northern Ireland's Jonny Evans (second left) celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game with team-mates during the UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifying, Group C match at Windsor Park, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday March 24, 2019. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. No commercial use.
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland 24th March 2019 European Championship 2020 Qualifying Round at the National Stadium at Windsor Park, Belfast. Northern Ireland Vs Belarus. Northern Ireland's Jonny Evans scores a header to make it 1-0. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MARCH 24: Jonny Evans of Northern Ireland celebrates after scoring his team's first goal during the 2020 UEFA European Championships Group C qualifying match between Northern Ireland and Belarus at Windsor Park on March 24, 2019 in Belfast, United Kingdom. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Northern Ireland's Jonny Evans (centre) celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game with team-mates during the UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifying, Group C match at Windsor Park, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday March 24, 2019. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. No commercial use.
PressEye-Northern Ireland- 24th March 2019-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Northern Ireland goal keeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell is beaten by Belarus Igor Stasevich shot Belarus during Sunday night's UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying match at the National Football Stadium, Windsor Park,Belfast Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
PressEye-Northern Ireland- 24th March 2019-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Northern Ireland goal keeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell is beaten by Belarus Igor Stasevich shot during Sunday night's UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying match at the National Football Stadium, Windsor Park,Belfast Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
Northern Ireland's Jamal Lewis (left) in action during the UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifying, Group C match at Windsor Park, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday March 24, 2019. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. No commercial use.
Paddy McNair put in a starring performance against Belarus.
Belarus' Alexander Hleb (left) and Northern Ireland's Stuart Dallas battle for the ball during the UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifying, Group C match at Windsor Park, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday March 24, 2019. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. No commercial use.
PressEye-Northern Ireland- 24th March 2019-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Northern Ireland Jamal Lewis and Belarus Igor Shitov during Sunday night's UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying match at the National Football Stadium, Windsor Park,Belfast Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
PressEye-Northern Ireland- 24th March 2019-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Northern Ireland Melanie Johnston and Andrew Topley from Portadown during Sunday night's UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying match at the National Football Stadium, Windsor Park,Belfast Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
PressEye-Northern Ireland- 24th March 2019-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Northern Ireland Melanie Johnston and Andrew Topley from Portadown during Sunday night's UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying match at the National Football Stadium, Windsor Park,Belfast Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
PressEye-Northern Ireland- 24th March 2019-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Northern Ireland fan Garth Magee from Ballymoney during Sunday night's UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying match at the National Football Stadium, Windsor Park,Belfast Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
PressEye-Northern Ireland- 24th March 2019-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Northern Ireland fan Benjamin Davis, 8, from Newtownards during Sunday night's UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying match at the National Football Stadium, Windsor Park,Belfast Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
Northern Ireland's Paddy McNair and Belarus Igor Shitov in action during the European Qualifier at Windsor Park in Belfast on March 24th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MARCH 24: Kyle Lafferty of Northern Ireland and Mikhail Sivakov and Stanislav Dragun of Belarus watch the ball during the 2020 UEFA European Championships Group C qualifying match between Northern Ireland and Belarus at Windsor Park on March 24, 2019 in Belfast, United Kingdom. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MARCH 24: George Saville of Northern Ireland holds off Ivan Maevski of Belarus during the 2020 UEFA European Championships Group C qualifying match between Northern Ireland and Belarus at Windsor Park on March 24, 2019 in Belfast, United Kingdom. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MARCH 24: Paddy McNair of Northern Ireland battles with Stanislav Dragun and Mikhail Sivakov of Belarus during the 2020 UEFA European Championships Group C qualifying match between Northern Ireland and Belarus at Windsor Park on March 24, 2019 in Belfast, United Kingdom. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MARCH 24: Steven Davis of Northern Ireland and Ivan Maevski of Belarus jump for the ball during the 2020 UEFA European Championships Group C qualifying match between Northern Ireland and Belarus at Windsor Park on March 24, 2019 in Belfast, United Kingdom. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill during the UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifying, Group C match at Windsor Park, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday March 24, 2019. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. No commercial use.
Northern Ireland's Jamal Lewis warms up before the UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifying, Group C match at Windsor Park, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday March 24, 2019. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. No commercial use.
Northern Ireland's Jamal Lewis (left) and Steven Davis warm up before the UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifying, Group C match at Windsor Park, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday March 24, 2019. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. No commercial use.
A Northern Ireland fan in the stands before the UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifying, Group C match at Windsor Park, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday March 24, 2019. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. No commercial use.
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MARCH 24: Steven Davis of Northern Ireland and Ivan Maevski of Belarus jump for the ball during the 2020 UEFA European Championships Group C qualifying match between Northern Ireland and Belarus at Windsor Park on March 24, 2019 in Belfast, United Kingdom. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MARCH 24: Kyle Lafferty of Northern Ireland (C) jokes with team mates Stuart Dallas and Niall McGinn prior to the 2020 UEFA European Championships Group C qualifying match between Northern Ireland and Belarus at Windsor Park on March 24, 2019 in Belfast, United Kingdom. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
A Northern Ireland fan in the stands before the UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifying, Group C match at Windsor Park, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday March 24, 2019. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. No commercial use.
General view of the stadium before the UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifying, Group C match at Windsor Park, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday March 24, 2019. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. No commercial use.
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MARCH 24: Niall McGinn of Northern Ireland warms up prior to the 2020 UEFA European Championships Group C qualifying match between Northern Ireland and Belarus at Windsor Park on March 24, 2019 in Belfast, United Kingdom. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MARCH 24: Steven Davis of Northern Ireland warms up prior to the 2020 UEFA European Championships Group C qualifying match between Northern Ireland and Belarus at Windsor Park on March 24, 2019 in Belfast, United Kingdom. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MARCH 24: Gareth McAuley of Northern Ireland warms up prior to the 2020 UEFA European Championships Group C qualifying match between Northern Ireland and Belarus at Windsor Park on March 24, 2019 in Belfast, United Kingdom. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill
Gareth Hanna

By Gareth Hanna

Substitute Josh Magennis was the hero as Northern Ireland left it late to beat a stubborn Belarus at Windsor Park.

Jonny Evans had given the hosts a first-half lead but Belarus hit back quickly, Igor Stasevich bagging the leveller.

As Northern Ireland dominated, it took Magennis to pop up with his fifth international goal on 87 minutes to make it two wins from two and leave Northern Ireland top of Group C.

Evans' third goal for Northern Ireland opened the scores as the centre-back headed in unmarked from close range. It was a short corner that allowed Niall McGinn to cross to the near post, where Steven Davis flicked it on to the awaiting Evans.

It was a lead that the hosts' deserved for another dominant opening half hour but three minutes later, Belarus were level in fortunate fashion. Igor Stasevich unleashed an effort from long range, in hope rather than expectation but when it deflected wickedly off Stuart Dallas, there was nothing Bailey Peacock-Farrell could do to stop it looping into the top corner.

The closest Northern Ireland came to beating Andrei Kilmovich for a second time before the break was when George Saville stole in at the near post to rifle an effort straight at the goalkeeper.

Thursday's man of the match Jordon Jones came into his own during the second period and caused the defence plenty of problems from the left flank but the most dangerous cross came from full-back Jamal Lewis, whose viciously whipped ball just evaded Kyle Lafferty as the striker looked to beat the goalkeeper to the punch.

Just as it looked like it could be a frustrating night for Michael O'Neill's men, the manager pulled it out of the bag by bringing on Magennis, who smashed home Paddy McNair's low cross to snatch the win. Magennis contributed in the build-up, taking down Criag Cathcart's long ball and finding Stuart Dallas for the full-back to play McNair in on the overlap.

The three points, however, were only sealed in the last minute of injury-time when goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell saved from point-blank range to deny Pavel Nekhaychik.

Elsewhere in the group, the Germany beat the Netherlands 3-2, leaving Northern Ireland three points clear of both teams at the top of the table of their back-to-back home wins over Estonia and Belarus.

Here's the game as it happened:

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