FOOTBALL: How the Northern Ireland players rated against Azerbaijan

The Northern Ireland team which started against Azerbaijan
The Northern Ireland team which started against Azerbaijan
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Northern Ireland player ratings (v Azerbaijan)

MICHAEL McGOVERN: Dealt with the only attempt the hosts had on target and stood up tall to spook Ramil Sheydayev and Afran Ismayilov in one-on-one opportunities. 7 (out of 10)

CONOR McLAUGHLIN: One of the better performers on the night and his searching crosses deserved more. 7

AARON HUGHES: As dependable a figure as O’Neill has. At 37 he once again answered the call, initially in a three centre-back system, then in a two. 7

GARETH McAULEY: Declared fit after a thigh problem but was forced off with an issue midway through the first half when trying to catch Sheydayev. 5

JONNY EVANS: Solid at the back as ever but it was going forward, with his assist for Dallas, that proved his most important act of the night. 7

STUART DALLAS: The Leeds winger had never scored a competitive goal but kept a cool head when a chance came around. 8

CHRIS BRUNT: One first-half cross nearly produced a goal and he started strongly before slowly fading along with his team-mates. 7

OLIVER NORWOOD: As energetic as ever but tired to allow lively Azerbaijani debutant Richard Almeida to have more influence on the contest. 6

STEVEN DAVIS: Not one of the captain’s better nights and when he fails to shine, typically the whole team do too. 5

JOSH MAGENNIS: No one can fault Magennis’ effort but he looked like a player whose league season ended six weeks ago. 5

LIAM BOYCE: This was Boyce’s chance after a goal-laden season with Ross County and he struggled, though had little service in his defence. 5

SUBSTITUTES

NIALL McGINN: Had the ignominy of being subbed after coming on and was unable to get into the game. 5

KYLE LAFFERTY: So often Northern Ireland’s hero, he was not the man this time but had a part to play in the winner with his presence. 6

LEE HODSON. A late arrival to the game who was brought on to ensure the visitors saw out a 0-0 draw. 6