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NI Women edged out by Iceland

Iceland Women 1 Northern Ireland Women 0

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A freak goal midway through the first half saw Northern Ireland fall to a 1-0 defeat to Iceland in their opening game of the Pinatar Cup in Spain. (stock photo)

A freak goal midway through the first half saw Northern Ireland fall to a 1-0 defeat to Iceland in their opening game of the Pinatar Cup in Spain. (stock photo)

A freak goal midway through the first half saw Northern Ireland fall to a 1-0 defeat to Iceland in their opening game of the Pinatar Cup in Spain. (stock photo)

A freak goal midway through the first half saw Northern Ireland fall to a 1-0 defeat to Iceland in their opening game of the Pinatar Cup in Spain.

Manager Kenny Shiels, however, will be greatly encouraged by a performance which saw his young team dominate possession for large parts of the game against a team ranked 18th in the world.

Icelandic winger Dagny Brynarsdottir's looping cross from the right wing caught out Northern Ireland goalkeeper Jacqueline Burns and dipped in at the far post for the game's only goal after 24 minutes.

Such were the sweltering conditions in Murcia that the goal was immediately followed by a water break, allowing Shiels to rally his troops, who are 56th in the rankings.

Northern Ireland's best chance came midway through the second half when Rachel Furness received the ball in a good position on the edge of the box, but with a defender closing in she was forced to rush her shot under pressure and the effort was comfortably saved.

Northern Ireland now face Ukraine on Saturday evening in their next game.

Belfast Telegraph