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0 - 0
AEK Arena - George Karapatakis
Cyprus v Northern Ireland Live Commentary,
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90' + 1'
Shots Off Target
Shots On Target
That's all from us, we hope you enjoyed the game. Until the next one, goodbye!
That 0-0 draw means it's two points shared for Cyprus and Northern Ireland, who both get their first points on the board in the 2022/23 Nations League. Both sides are still yet to score a goal, too, meaning that despite having a point each, that will only increase if either side can find some goalscoring form in later matches.
Jonny Evans, winning his 96th cap for Northern Ireland, was rock-solid at the back for them in this game. He completed more touches and passes than anyone else on the pitch, as well as 11 duels, seven of which came in the air. Defensively, he won the ball a whopping 18 times, via a block, three tackles and five interceptions. Keystone.
The game finishes goalless, with neither side able to really breach the other's defence. Both had chances though, with the hosts going close on a couple of occasions, but Peacock-Farrell kept them at bay with some crucial saves. Northern Ireland were even more blunt in attack, and will need to start scoring some goals if they're to be promoted from Group C2.
90' + 5'
FULL-TIME: CYPRUS 0-0 NORTHERN IRELAND.
90' + 3'
As the clock ticks down on this game, it looks like it's heading for a goalless draw. Both sides have tried their hearts out, but their lack of quality in the final third has hamstrung both their collective efforts tonight.
90' + 1'
Papoulis intercepts Donnelly's pass and races past him, but is body checked by the midfielder on his way through and wins the foul. Donnelly is rightfully booked by the referee.
90' + 1'
We're into four minutes of added time to close out this game.
Peacock-Farrell climbs high to claim an aerial ball and absolutely clatters Papoulis on his way through. The referee stops play, but no foul is given, and the Cyprus substitute eventually gets to his feet.
McCann wins the ball in midfield and puts McMenamin into space down the left, but he gets his cross to Lafferty all wrong and slices it out of play.
Cyprus come forward in numbers as Papoulis finds Kakoulis, but his effort from the edge of the box is blocked by Brown!
After Kakoulis is muscled off the ball by Donnelly, Northern Ireland counter through McMenamin down the left. He crosses into the danger area, but it's ahead of everyone, and Lafferty is dispossessed trying to keep the ball in play.
WIDE!!! McMenamin's cross from the left evades everyone but McCann, who arrives late at the front post but can't divert the bouncing ball goalwards as he misses from right in front! What a chance that was!
Correa's hurt himself in sliding in for that shot, and is moving very gingerly as he finally gets to his feet.
WIDE!!! Tzionis's corner isn't dealt with by Northern Ireland, and Correa slides in from close range to shoot, missing the target by mere inches!
WIDE!!! Lavery is straight into the action, cutting inside from the right of the box and smashing a curling left-footed effort which can't quite bend inside the far post!
Sotiriou also comes off for the hosts, replaced by Andronikos Kakoulis up front.
Northern Ireland captain Davis is the next to come off, and Ian Baraclough brings on Shayne Lavery in his place.
Evans plays a ball wide to Davis and continues his run, but the return ball from Davis to the defender is cut out by Correa. McGinn recovers the ball and looks to cross, but hits his effort over all the white shirts in the Cyprus box.
A quick throw from Peacock-Farrell sends McMenamin racing down the left-hand-side, but with all of his options in the box covered by defenders, he cuts inside and tries to curl a shot from the edge of the area, which sails over the bar.
Cyprus burst forward and have a four-on-three advantage. Papoulis is played in, but cuts the ball back to Artymatas, but he drags his first-time effort well wide of goal.
Saville is the next Northern Ireland player withdrawn, as Alistair McCann comes on in midfield.
Papoulis drives through midfield but is dragged back by McMenamin, who concedes the free-kick.
McMenamin drives down the left and into the area. He has a low drive at goal, which is stopped and held by Michael at his near post.
The booked Kastanos also comes off, with Fotios Papoulis replacing him.
Cyprus captain Christofi is their next man substituted, with Charalambos Kyriakou coming on up front.
Whyte has been feeding off scraps up front, and is withdrawn now for Conor McMenamin.
Charles also comes off, and is replaced in midfield by Liam Donnelly.
Lane comes off in Northern Ireland's first change, and he's replaced by Brodie Spencer.
SAVED!!! Kastanos cuts inside from the right and puts Tzionis through on goal. He shoots, but Peacock-Farrell is racing out of his goal and parries the shot away! Best chance of the game so far, by far!
McNair puts Saville into space inside the Cyprus box, but his cut-back across goal is too far ahead of Whyte for him to latch onto.
WIDE!!! Christofi cuts inside and finds Kastanos on the edge of the box. He tries his luck, and swerves a good effort just wide of the post!
Northern Ireland have only won two of their last 21 competitive international matches, both of which were victories over Lithuania in 2021 in World Cup qualifiers.
Loizou has been superb for Cyprus, but comes off now for Marinos Tzionis.
A good turn and sprint by Sotiriou sparks a counter-attack from Cyprus. He frees up Christofi down the left, but his attempted chip of Peacock-Farrell goes wrong and he floats it into the stands.
Evans and Kastanos slide into a tackle, with the Cyprus midfielder winning the ball and being caught late. The Northern Ireland defender is booked for his troubles.
CHANCE!!! After a McNair free-kick is eventually cleared, Cyprus race away on the counter through Pittas. He's in acres of space and has Loizou to his left, bit can't make a decision in time and is tackled inside the Northern Ireland box!
Brown whips in a cross from the right, where Evans rises at the back post, but he can't direct his header on target and Michael watches it fly wide.
SAVED!!! Davis' long ball to Lafferty is headed away by Correa, but Whyte follows up with a well-struck volley that Michael has to dive low to keep hold of!
McGinn strolls into space and is found down the left. He dribbles into the box and drives a cross across the face of goal, but no-one is there to meet it and the chance goes begging.
Northern Ireland resume proceedings, and the second half is up and running!
Cyprus defender Katelaris is withdrawn at half-time, and is replaced by Nikolas Panagiotou.
The sides head back out for the second half, and here's hoping that the deadlock is broken not long after the break!
Pittas and Loizou have had so much freedom down the right-hand side, having all four of Cyprus's efforts on goal and completing four crosses between them. Pittas has also won possession a team-high six times, with Loizou not far behind with four ball recoveries himself.
The first half ends with the game scoreless, but that's not for lack of trying on Cyprus' part. Whilst Northern Ireland have created very little in the final third, Peacock-Farrell has been tested several times by the home side, not least by that thunderous effort from Katelaris which struck the crossbar. It's not been the highest quality game thus far, but that could well improve if we see a goal or two in the second half.
45' + 1'
HALF-TIME: CYPRUS 0-0 NORTHERN IRELAND.
We'll play a minute's additional time at the end of this first half.
OFF THE BAR!!! What a hit that was!!! With Cyprus' attacks down the wings being repelled, Ioannou passes inside to Katelaris, who smashes a pile-driver of a shot from 40 yards, that beats Peacock-Farrell all ends up before cannoning back off the crossbar! What a goal that would have been!
BLOCKED!!! Evans' long ball forward finds Whyte on the run. He enters the box and shoots low, with a Gogic deflection sending it behind for a Northern Irish corner!
Kastanos lunges in on Charles and catches him late, being penalised and booked by the referee for the first time in the game.
Cyprus have won just one of their last 12 matches in all competitions, a 2-0 victory over Estonia in the UEFA Nations League in March.
WIDE!!! Northern Ireland cross the ball back in and it comes to Lane on the edge of the box. He lays off Charles for a shot, but the teenage midfielder slips as he strikes the ball and a deflection sends it well wide of the target!
McGinn finds Saville wide and he crosses from the left. Whyte arrives in the box, but a fraction too late and his connection on the ball only sends it towards the opposite touchline.
Northern Ireland are yet to keep a single clean sheet in 11 matches in the Nations League, conceding 19 goals. They are one of only two nations yet to register a clean sheet in the competition, along with Iceland.
Davis' lofted pass forward finds Saville, who looks to flick it onto Whyte but mistimes his back-heel. Correa recovers the ball, but Saville slides in late on him to concede the free-kick.
Saville attempts to play McGinn into space down the left, but Katelaris has his side of the defence covered once more and puts the ball out of play.
Cyprus have failed to score in eight of their last 10 matches in the Nations League, netting twice in their other two games – 2-1 vs Luxembourg in November 2020 and 2-0 vs Estonia in March 2022.
Charles' flick onto Whyte is blocked, but Davis picks up the pieces to play in Lafferty. He has space to shoot, but tries to tee up Whyte, and Cyprus eventually clear through Katelaris!
Saville is caught in mid-air after volleying the ball out of play, but the referee calls play-on and Cyprus take the throw.
Cyprus construct another good attacking move, with Ioannou's cut-back intercepted before a shot from Pittas is blocked!
Northern Ireland haven’t scored in either of their last two away games against Cyprus, stretching back to that 1-0 loss in 1973. The last Northern Irish player to score on the Mediterranean island was George Best with a penalty in a 3-0 win in 1971.
Loizou's away again down the right, streaking away from lane before cutting inside Evans. His space runs out as Brown approaches though, and he skews a weak effort wide of the left post.
SAVED!!! McNair heads a cross away from danger, but Kastanos heads it back across to Loizou. He lashes a half-volley with the outside of his left foot, which Peacock-Farrell does well to keep hold of!
Pittas crosses from the right and the ball finds Sotiriou, but he can't flick the ball around to shoot before Evans hoofs it away.
Northern Ireland appear to have switched from their 3-5-2 formation into a 4-1-4-1, with McNair moving to right-back with Whyte ahead of him, McGinn swapping wings to the left, and Charles dropping deeper into defensive midfield.
OVER! McNair's cross from the right is missed by Lafferty, but Saville arrives late and blazes a half-volley over the crossbar!
Lafferty heads a long ball down for Charles to strike, but Gogic steps in to clear it away for the home side.
Northern Ireland have only lost one of their six matches against Cyprus, losing 1-0 in a World Cup qualifier in February 1973. That was the only goal Cyprus have scored in those six games.
A high-speed challenge for a loose ball sees Kastanos and McNair clatter into one another, with the free-kick going Cyprus' way.
Cyprus build a positive looking attack as they spread it wide to Ioannou, but he gets his cross all wrong and floats it behind for a goal kick.
This is the first encounter between Cyprus and Northern Ireland since March 2014, when the sides drew 0-0 in a friendly. Indeed, both games between the two nations this century have ended goalless (also 0-0 in August 2002).
WIDE!!! Loizou drives at the defence from the left but is tackled. Pittas follows up from the right, curling a first-time effort wide of Peacock-Farrell's right post!
Cyprus kick off, and we're underway in this Nations League clash!
The teams head out for the anthems, and we'll be underway in just a matter of moments!
Jonny Evans won his 95th cap for Northern Ireland in their 1-0 defeat to Greece on Thursday, and starts this match to go outright fourth on the list of players with the most caps for Northern Ireland, moving ahead of David Healy, who also won 95 caps between 2000 and 2013.
Cyprus start with a 3-4-3 formation, spearheaded by Pieros Sotiriou and captain Dimitris Christofi, who have 20 international goals between them.
NORTHERN IRELAND SUBS: Luke Southwood, Trevor Carson, Conor Bradley, Brodie Spencer, Shayne Lavery, Dion Charles, Caolan Boyd-Munce, Alfie McCalmont, Conor McMenamin, Alistair McCann, Liam Donnelly, Charlie McCann.
NORTHERN IRELAND (3-5-2): Bailey Peacock-Farrell; Paddy McNair, Jonny Evans, Ciaron Brown; Niall McGinn, Shea Charles, Steven Davis, George Saville, Paddy Lane; Kyle Lafferty, Gavin Whyte.
CYPRUS SUBS: Ioakeim Toumbas, Andreas Christodoulou, Michalis Ioannou, Matija Spoljaric, Minas Antoniou, Charalambos Kyriakou, Andreas Avraam, Nikolas Panagiotou, Andronikos Kakoulis, Fotios Papoulis, Konstantinos Laifis, Marinos Tzionis.
CYPRUS (3-4-3): Neophytos Michael; Pavlos Correa, Alexander Gogic, Fanos Katelaris; Ioannis Pittas, Grigoris Kastanos, Kostakis Artymatas, Nicholas Ioannou; Loizos Loizou, Pieros Sotiriou, Dimitris Christofi.
That 1-0 defeat by Greece has Ian Baraclough’s men sat second-bottom of Group C2, but have a chance to kick-start their Nations League campaign here in Larnaca.
The hosts lost 2-0 at home to Kosovo in their Nations League opener last time out, but will be hoping for a more positive result in this game, against a Northern Ireland side who also lost their first match of the tournament.
Hello, and welcome to live coverage of this UEFA Nations League fixture, between Cyprus and Northern Ireland.