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Northern Ireland v Kosovo Live Commentary, 24/09/2022

FT
2 - 1
NIR
RKS
G. Whyte (82)
J. Magennis (90+2)
V. Muriqi (58)
Windsor Park

Commentary

That's all for today. Thanks for joining us!
The win means that Northern Ireland now have five points in League C Group 2, only one point behind Kosovo. In a few days' time, Kosovo will take on Cyprus, who have all but been related, while Northern Ireland visit Greece.
Kosovo started the match showing much more intent than their opponents. Their attack was too much to contain, and they were rewarded for their efforts in the 58th minute with a great goal from captain, Muriqi. After a largely uninspiring first half, Northern Ireland dug deep after conceding and pushed until the end to ensure the three points, with goals coming from Whyte in the 82nd minute, and Magennis in the 93rd minute.
90' + 4' FULL TIME: NORTHERN IRELAND 2-1 KOSOVO
G. Whyte
Assist
Northern Ireland
90' + 2' That is a goal and an assist for Whyte, who has come on in the 78th minute and clearly made a difference.
J. Magennis
Goal
Northern Ireland
90' + 2' GOOOOOOOOALLLLLLLLL! THEY HAVE DONE IT!!! NORTHERN IRELAND COMPLETE THE COMEBACK. Whyte bursts on the flank and gets a cross in to Magennis, who heads it into the bottom left corner, leaving Muric to stand there helpless and wondering what happened. Northern Ireland 2-1 Kosovo.
A. McCann
S. Davis
Northern Ireland
90' + 1' A late sub sees Davis come off for McCann.
90' There will be four minutes of added time.
88' KOSOVO ALMOST GET THEIR SECOND! A cross comes in for Muriqi, but he's unable to control it, and the ball sails well over the bar.
Z. Bytyqi
E. Rashani
Kosovo
87' Bytyqi comes on for Rashani.
S. Lavery
Assist
Northern Ireland
82' It was a great play from Lavery, who held onto the ball, waited for Muric to come out, and quickly laid it off to Whyte to finish the job.
G. Whyte
Goal
Northern Ireland
82' GOOOOOOOAAAALLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!! Moments earlier, it looked like Kosovo were going to score a second, but the goal comes from the other end as Whyte smashes it home from close range. Northern Ireland 1-1 Kosovo.
81' Northern Ireland are still looking for that equaliser as Davis takes a shot from outside of the box, but it is straight into the hands of Muric.
F. Loshaj
F. Muslija
Kosovo
78' Kosovo also make another change with Muslija coming off for Loshaj.
S. Ferguson
J. Lewis
Northern Ireland
77' Lewis makes way for Ferguson.
G. Whyte
C. Evans
Northern Ireland
76' Evans comes off for Whyte.
S. Lavery
D. Charles
Northern Ireland
76' Substitution Dion Elie Charles Shayne Francis Lavery
75' From a Northern Ireland corner, Muric makes an easy save. Despite looking like he rolled his ankle a moment earlier, he seems to be fine to continue for now.
73' Muric makes a catch from a Northern Ireland cross, but he slips on his landing, and despite play continuing, he's holding his ankle still.
A. Zeneli
M. Rashica
Kosovo
69' A like for like change here as Rashica comes off for Zeneli.
J. Thompson
G. Saville
Northern Ireland
67' Thompson comes on for Saville.
65' ANOTHER HUGE CHANCE FOR THE HOSTS! WOW! Magennis heads it towards goal and Muric gets the tips of his fingers on it as the ball hits the cross bar.
64' OFF THE LINE! Northern Ireland look to get back in this, and from a corner, Jonny Evans' powerful header sails past Muric. But Muriqi is behind him to head it away from danger.
D. Rrudhani
Assist
Kosovo
58' Rrudhani passed the ball from the byline for the assist, but the goal truly was all Muriqi who was able to make space and take the inch-perfect shot.
V. Muriqi
Goal
Kosovo
58' NOW THIS GOAL WILL DEFINITELY STAND! It's taken 57 minutes, but Kosovo have finally scored their goal, and you can't say it isn't deserved. Muriqi drills a shot into the bottom right corner, leaving no chance for a stretching Peacock-Farrell. Northern Ireland 0-1 Kosovo.
55' The ball is in the back of the net!!! It looks like a goal at first from Charles, but the replay quickly shows that he was well offside from the moment Saville attempted the through ball.
51' Eight of Northern Ireland’s ten goals in the UEFA Nations League have been scored in the second half of games, with their first (Will Grigg vs Bosnia and Herzegovina in September 2018) and most recent (Jonny Evans vs Cyprus in June) goals in the competition being scored in the 93rd minute.
47' Northern Ireland start the half fast as Bradley bursts on the right wing, cuts onto his left foot, and shoots, but it's a routine save.
46' We're back and underway for the second-half!
As it stands, Kosovo will finish second in League C Group 2 with seven points, while Northern Ireland will finish third, avoiding relegation, with three.
It is goalless at the break at Windsor Park. Kosovo had more and better chances, with two shots on target from Rashica, and another two from Muslija. Peacock-Farrell has so far kept his side in the game, as the hosts have been poor with their press and have offered little going forward.
45' + 1' HALF-TIME: NORTHERN IRELAND 0-0 KOSOVO
B. Fazliji
Yellow Card
Kosovo
44' Fazliji gets booked for a bad foul.
43' Northern Ireland break quickly, and Charles takes a shot from right outside the box. It's powerful, but it is straight at Muric to catch.
41' Northern Ireland enjoy some possession, but they just pass the ball around the back, unable to find an opening.
36' CHANCE!!!! A cross into the box from Celina is straight to an unguarded Rashani, but the left-winger's header goes just over the bar. He really should do better from that range.
33' This is Jonny Evans' 99th appearance for Northern Ireland. He is now one cap away from becoming the fourth player to reach 100 games for Norn Iron after Steven Davis, Pat Jennings and Aaron Hughes.
27' Kosovo play out from the back and bypass Northern Ireland's press fairly easily. Rrudhani attempts a through ball into the box, but it is intercepted by Jonny Evans.
24' Wow! The follow-up free-kick from the foul is a fantastic shot from Muslija. It's on target, but Peacock-Farrell gets low and makes the save.
23' Flanagan gets a talking to from the ref after he smacks Rashica with his arm.
20' Northern Ireland have had zero shots on target compared to Kosovo's three in the opening twenty minutes.
17' Northern Ireland win a free-kick outside the box, but it's headed away. Neither team has taken advantage of their set-pieces so far.
13' How has the ball not gone in?! From a corner, Peacock-Farrell punches the ball up, Muriqi heads the rebound, and it is perfect for Aliti to poke home, but he somehow drills it over the bar.
10' ANOTHER BIG CHANGE FOR KOSOVO! A quick counterattack catches Northern Ireland by surprise, and the ball into the box lands to Rashica, who attempts a half-volley. It's in the path of Celina to head home, but Peacock-Farrell is able to punch it away first.
8' Both teams can't keep hold of the ball for long, and the ball has been pinging back and forth between the two sides for the past few minutes.
4' GOOD CHANCE! Muslija receives a layoff, and he has all the time in the world to take a curling shot from outside the box. Peacock-Farrell parries it straight into the path of Rashica, but the winger fails to hit the ball past the Northern Ireland keeper.
1' The referee has blown the whistle, and we are underway!
The two teams are out, the national anthems have been belted out, and we're just about ready for kick-off!
Kosovo lost 2-0 away to Greece in their most recent game, also back in June. Alain Giresse makes five alterations to that side, with Hadergjonaj, Fazliji, Celina, Dresevic and Rashani all coming into the side. Much will be expected of key men Muriqi and Raschica in attack.
Just three players have kept their places in the Northern Ireland team from the 2-2 draw at home to Cyprus back in June. Jonny Evans, Davis and McNair are the lucky trio, though the latter switches from midfield to right-back this time around. Among those coming into the centre of the pitch is Corry Evans, who will be winning his 70th cap.
KOSOVO SUBS: Visar Bekaj, Toni Domgjoni, Amir Rrahmani, Lumbardh Dellova, Lindon Emerllahu, Zymer Bytyqi, Samir Ujkani, Hekuran Kryeziu, Ilir Krasniqi, Arber Zeneli, Florian Loshaj.
KOSOVO (4-3-3): Aro Muric; Florent Hadergjonaj, Betim Fazliji, Fidan Aliti, Donat Rrudhani; Bersant Celina, Ibrahim Dresevic, Florent Muslija; Milot Rashica, Vedat Muriqi, Elbasan Rashani.
NORTHERN IRELAND SUBS: Shayne Lavery, Ciaron Brown, Paddy Lane, Luke Southwood, Shane Ferguson, Kofi Balmer, Conor Hazard, Shea Charles, Alistair McCann, Gavin Whyte, Jordan Thompson.
NORTHERN IRELAND (4-1-3-2): Bailey Peacock-Farrell; Paddy McNair, Jonny Evans, Tom Flanagan, Jamal Lewis; Corry Evans; Conor Bradley, Steven Davis, George Saville; Josh Magennis, Dion Charles.
Nevertheless, Kosovo cannot finish higher than second in the group as leaders Greece have beaten them twice, and therefore have a six-point lead that is unassailable due to their better head-to-head record. Still, they will be eager to finish the campaign well after a very respectable effort thus far.
Northern Ireland will be hoping to finally get their first win of this Nations League campaign today. After four matches, they have amassed just two points – that means they are still in danger of being relegated from Group C2, with fourth-placed Cyprus only behind them on goal difference. A draw will ensure Kosovo cannot be relegated this year.
Hello and welcome to the live text commentary of the Nations League clash between Northern Ireland and Kosovo!