PIRAEUS, Greece — Northern Ireland continued its surprise run in Euro 2016 qualifying on Oct. 14 by beating Greece 2-0 for its third straight win in Group F.
Jamie Ward fired in a corner kick taken by Oliver Norwood in the ninth minute, with the ball crossing the line after a slight deflection off Greece defender Loukas Vyntra.
Kyle Lafferty scored the second after a solo run six minutes into the second half at Karaiskaki Stadium. He has now scored in all three of his country’s group matches.
The injury-plagued Greeks had their best chance in the first half with Nikos Karelis, who misplaced his lob for the 2004 European champions.
In other Group F games, Hungary won 1-0 in the Faeroe Islands while Romania beat Finland 2-0 in Helsinki.
The defeat at home at Karaiskakis Stadium kept Greece with only one point in three games and a hapless offense that was also shut out by Romania, just two months after the team made a creditable showing at the World Cup in Brazil. Greece’s next game is against the lowly Faroe Islands but faith is eroding in its chance to get back to the European championship tourney.
New manager Claudio Ranieri, who’s already under fierce criticism, failed to find any unit that was cohesive enough to mount a challenge against the Irish.
While Greece played a stop-and-start game, Northern Ireland played fluidly and with confidence. Nikos Karelis missed Greece’s best chance in the first half.
Kyle Lafferty, playing like a world-class striker, got by defender Costas Stafylidis five minutes into the second half to slot the ball past keeper Orestis Karnezis for the 2-0 lead and what would be the final score.
(Material from the Associated Press was used in this report)