Man of the match Paddy McNair delivers late winner to seal historic victory for Northern Ireland against Belarus
Belarus 0-1 Northern Ireland
Man of the Match Paddy McNair sealed a historic victory with his first ever Northern Ireland goal to beat Belarus 1-0 on Tuesday evening.
One moment of class was always likely to be enough to separate the sides in the Euro 2020 qualifier in Borisov and McNair provided it with just four minutes left on the clock.
It had been a disjointed affair as Michael O'Neill's men looked to make it four successive victories to begin a qualifying campaign for the first time in the nation's history.
Middlesbrough man McNair had been the one providing the spark from the off and delivered the telling blow when he left a defender for dead with a deft touch wide on the left and finished it off with a rifled shot past a helpless goalkeeper.
The result means Northern Ireland go into the four successive matches against Germany and the Netherlands top the group with a 100% record.
Michael O'Neill's men are three points ahead of Germany, who smashed Estonia 8-0 to make it three wins from their three Group C games so far.
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Northern Ireland started both halves brightly but couldn't make either strong period count.
Conor Washington, who had sparked the side into life as a half-time substitute in Estonia on Saturday, did well to work space for a fourth minute effort but he could only drag the shot inches wide.
It had seemed that the break had worked in their favour when the visitors came out with real purpose for the second half. Again Washington worked an early effort but his well-struck shot was snatched from the air by Aleksandr Gutor before it could find the top corner.
At the other end, Belarus had carried a goal-threat of their own and Bailey Peacock-Farrell was at full stretch to deny midfielder Maevski from a well-worked free-kick with 20 minutes on the clock.
The manager's substitutions worked wonders at the weekend and in this one, midfielder George Saville did at least create a midfield goal threat when he came on after 70 minutes. He warmed the goalkeeper's gloves soon after but in truth, McNair was the man most deserving of the winning goal and came up trumps when Northern Ireland needed him most.
Here's the game as it happened:
Belfast Telegraph Digital