Belfast Telegraph

Serbia v Northern Ireland: No debut delight for Lee Camp

By Steven Beacom

Northern Ireland's new goalkeeper Lee Camp felt Serbia got lucky last night.

The Serbs came from behind to win 2-1 in the Group C qualifier in Belgrade, denting Northern Ireland's hopes of qualifying for next year's European Championship finals.

Gareth McAuley had given the visitors the lead in the first half with a header, but second half goals from Marko Pantelic and Zoran Tosic ultimately made it a disappointing evening for Nigel Worthington's team.

Nottingham Forest ace Camp, who can be content with his international debut, could do little

about the goals. He enjoyed his first appearance for Northern Ireland, saying the result was the only downside.

“I thought I did pretty well, but I'd have preferred to have played poorly and won,” said the 26-year-old Derby-born stopper who only gained FIFA clearance to play for Northern Ireland in February.

“Up to when they scored I thought we were in control. They got a break with their first goal and their second goal came after a deflection. I thought they were lucky to win to be honest.

“Before Pantelic scored our centre backs Gareth McAuley and Aaron Hughes hadn't given him a kick.

“I think it was a real compliment that a team like Serbia actually changed their system to play us, so we can take plenty of positives from this.”

Camp will now turn his attentions to Tuesday's match with Slovenia at Windsor Park, a must-win fixture for Worthington and his men if they want to reach the finals in Poland and Ukraine.

“I can't wait for that match,” said the former England under-21 goalkeeper. I was at Windsor for the Italy game earlier in the campaign as a spectator and the atmosphere was fantastic. I really enjoyed seeing the supporters do the bouncy and roar on the team.”

Aaron Hughes was disappointed to taste defeat but he insisted it wasn’t all doom and gloom in the camp.

“We are obviously disappointed to have lost against Serbia but there are a lot of positives to take from the game,” he said.

“I thought we played well. Lee Camp in goal had a good game and the two young lads, Corry Evans and Johnny Gorman, out on the wings worked their socks off.”

Hughes is a major injury doubt for Tuesday after suffering a shoulder injury. “It popped out in the first half and then back in. I'm struggling for the Slovenia game,” he added.

Belfast Telegraph


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