Kyle Lafferty and Oliver Norwood were denied in a tense finale as Northern Ireland’s crunch Euro 2016 qualifier against Romania ended in stalemate at Windsor Park.
Lafferty, whose deadly form has brought him five goals in the campaign, this time snatched at his best chance in the 83rd-minute, Ciprian Tatarusanu making the save before pawing clear Oliver Norwood’s goalbound free-kick moments later.
Victory would have seen Michael O’Neill’s side leapfrog their opponents at the top of Group F, but Tatarusanu’s saves ensured that Northern Ireland must make do with sitting in the second automatic spot with four games remaining in the campaign.
For a side who have not featured at a major tournament in 30 years and entered the draw for France among the fifth seeds, even being in with a chance of qualifying at this stage must still be a source of immense pride.
Jonny Evans was also a central figure, going closest to opening the scoring in the first half with a smart header and then deflecting fractionally wide Romania’s best chance, which fell to the winger Gabriel Torje.Reuse content