EURO 2016 QUALIFIERS: Northern Ireland claim 3-1 win over Faroe Islands to stand on verge of qualification

Gareth McAuley celebrates his goal with teammate Oliver Norwood
Gareth McAuley celebrates his goal with teammate Oliver Norwood

FAROE ISLANDS 1 N IRELAND 3

Gareth McAuley’s brace and Kyle Lafferty’s sixth goal of the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign gave Northern Ireland a 3-1 victory over the Faroe Islands and moved them to the verge of a place in France next summer.

McAuley headed the visitors ahead after 12 minutes but Joan Edmundsson equalised prior to the break in Torshavn following an error from Stuart Dallas.

However, Edmundsson was dismissed for two cautions after the hour and Michael O’Neill’s men took full advantage - McAuley nodding in from another right-wing free-kick before Lafferty fired in a third.

With third-placed Hungary only drawing with previous leaders Romania, the Northern Irish moved to the top of Group F with three games remaining and victory over the Hungarians in Belfast on Monday would seal their passage to a major international tournament for the first time since the 1986 World Cup.