Healy takes pride in defeat

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The Independent Online

David Healy continued his remarkable start to international football here last night. The 21-year-old Manchester United reserve striker struck with an accomplished finish to register his fourth goal on only his fourth international appearance.

David Healy continued his remarkable start to international football here last night. The 21-year-old Manchester United reserve striker struck with an accomplished finish to register his fourth goal on only his fourth international appearance.

Although Yugoslavia's second-half response brought victory, the Irish could take much satisfaction from a spirited performance. Blackburn's Damien Johnson impressed on the right wing, but it was Healy, deployed as a lone striker, who particularly caught the eye. Seconds before half-time Jeff Whitley sprung the Yugoslavs' offside trap with a perfect through ball, which gave Healy the chance to run through and shoot past Zeljko Cicovic.

The former Aston Villa striker, Savo Milosevic, almost equalised after 54 minutes but his shot struck a post. Remarkably, the rebound fell to Predrag Mijatovic, who then shot againt the same upright.

Milosevic was soon replaced by Mateja Kezman, who promptly scored with a free header from Ivan Dudic's cross. After 77 minutes Mijatovic converted another Dudic centre to give Yugoslavia victory.

Before the game the Irish Football Association dropped a threat to bar Neil Lennon, Gerry Taggart and Steve Lomas from Premier League action in England after they withdrew from the Northern Ireland squad for last night's match.

Northern Ireland: Taylor; Nolan, Murdock, M Williams, A Hughes, Horlock, Magilton, J Whitley, Johnson, Mulryne, Healy. Substitutes: Carroll, Gillespie, Kirk, Griffin, J Quinn, Larmour.

Yugoslavia: Cicovic; Dudic, Djordjevic, Grujic, Bunjevcevic, Grozdic, Sakic, Mijatovic, Milosevic, D Stankovic, Lazetic. Substitutes: Jevric, Obradovic, Mirkovic, Kezman, Ilic.

Referee: W Young (Scotland).

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