McIlroy's men flop as Lomas is sent off

Liechtenstein 0 Northern Ireland 0
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Sammy McIlroy, the Northern Ireland manager, must have been tempted to throw himself into the river Rhine which runs behind the stadium in Vaduz after enduring the most humiliating result of his reign.

On Northern Ireland's worst night since they lost to Albania in 1997, captain Steve Lomas was sent off for the first time in his international career for supposedly elbowing the Liechtenstein striker Thomas Beck.

However, not even Lomas' dismissal could excuse what was a hugely disappointing performance. Northern Ireland never got going against a side with just one competitive win in their eight-year history and ranked 152rd in the world.

Northern Ireland's best couple of chances came near the end when Jim Magilton and substitute Stuart Elliott fired wide. Before then Liechtenstein, who had not scored in their last 10 games, could have been ahead and Damien Johnson cleared a Thomas Nigg header off the line.

Liechtenstein, in England's Euro 2004 qualifying group, should have been ideal opposition for McIlroy's side but, in an unimaginative display, they rarely threatened.

LIECHTENSTEIN (4-4-2): Jehle (Grasshoppers); Martin Stocklasa (FC Zurich), Gigon (Lausanne), Hassler (FC Wil), Zech (USV Eschen); Michael Stocklasa (FC Baden), Telser (Vaduz), Buchel (Young Boys Bern), T.Beck (Vaduz); Nigg (USV Eschen), M.Beck (USV Eschen). Substitutes: Heeb (USV Eschen) for Jehle, h-t; Burgmeier (Vaduz) for Nigg, 73.

NORTHERN IRELAND (4-4-2): Taylor (Fulham); Lomas (West Ham), McCann (West Ham), McCartney (Sunderland), Williams (Wimbledon); Gillespie (Blackburn), Mulryne (Norwich), Magilton (Ipswich), Johnson (Birmingham); Feeney (Bournemouth), Healy (Preston). Substitutes: Carroll (Man United) for Taylor, h-t; Hughes (Wimbledon) for Feeney, 59; Holmes (Wrexham) for McCann, 68; Elliott (Motherwell) for Healey, 84.

Referee: R Rogalla (Switzerland).

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