Kazakstan 1-0 Northern Ireland: Michael O’Neill’s men slump to new low as defeat to Kazakstan ends all hope of qualifying for Euro 2024 and condemns them to a FIFTH loss in a row
- Northern Ireland suffer 1-0 defeat to Kazakstan to end their Euro 2024 hopes
- Striker Makim Samorodov scored the only goal to sink Michael O’Neill’s team
- The defeat means Northern Ireland lose their fifth straight game in a row
With only minnows San Marino for company at the foot of Group H, a fifth straight defeat for Northern Ireland heaped yet more misery on their Euro 2024 qualification campaign.
Sunday’s 1-0 loss away to Kazakhstan, with Maksim Samorodov’s 20-yard strike the only goal scored on a plastic pitch at the Astana Stadium, was the latest nail in the Northern Irish coffin as they reluctantly accept they will not grace next year’s tournament in Germany.
An estimated 150 supporters made the 3,000-mile trek to the Kazakhstan capital. Manager Michael O’Neill hoped his injury-ravaged team would play with pride for their sake but captained by Jonny Evans, the 35-year-old central defender of Manchester United, Northern Ireland could not trouble their opponents enough.
That is despite Kazakhstan sitting 40 places adrift of Northern Ireland in the world rankings. By contrast, they have now won four of their six games in Group H and are in the thick of the qualification fight alongside Finland, Denmark and Slovenia.
The home side’s winner came from Samorodov, the 21-year-old striker for Kazakhstan Premier League side Aktobe. His powerful finish in the 27th minute flew past Bailey Peacock-Farrell and left Northern Ireland’s defenders, including Evans, remonstrating with each other.
Northern Ireland sink to a new low following a 1-0 defeat to Kazakhstan that ended Euros hope
Maksim Samorodov (10) celebrates with his teammates after netting the winning goala
New Man Utd recruit Jonny Evans failed to captain the Northern Ireland side to a win
Samorodov had been gifted too much space in front of the box and scored with the hosts’ first shot on target.
Kazakhstan continued to threaten to score before the break as Peacock-Farrell was feeling the pressure. Yet it was Northern Ireland who had the clearest chance to score next.
The visitors thought they had equalised when Conor Washington found Matty Kennedy, whose cross-shot bobbled across goal. Conor McMenamin seemed set to finish from a yard out, only for Samorodov to somehow beat him to the ball. That intervention was as good as a goal by the Kazakhstan striker, who helped his side clear the danger.
It was all Northern Ireland for the final 20 minutes but, perhaps predictably for a team who have now failed to score in four of their last five qualifiers, they lacked the finishing touch. The equaliser proved elusive, and their fifth consecutive defeat was confirmed.
The only good news for Northern Ireland is San Marino are next in October — a game which should guarantee O’Neill and his men a much-needed morale-boosting win.
Kazakstan (5-4-1): Shatskiy, Tapalov (Maliy 71), Bystrov, Marochkin, Alip, Vorogovskiy (Dosmagambetov 45), Zaynutdinov (Aymbetov 88), Beisebekov (Darabayev 71), Tagybergen, Orazov, Samorodov (Kuat 56)
Subs not used: Shaizada, Chesnokov, Astanov, Kairov, Skortov, Zarutskiy, Erlanov
Goal-scorer: Samorodov 27
Booked: Bystrov, Dosmagambetov, Zaynutdinov, Tagybergen, Samorodov, Kuat
Manager: Magomed Adiyev
Northern Ireland (4-1-4-1): Peacock-Farrell McNair, Ballard,Evans Hume, Charles, McMenamin (Smyth 45), McCann (Magennis 70), Saville (Thompson 45) Kennedy (Jones 63), Washington (Charles 81)
Subs not used: Spencer, Toal, Hazard, Price, Lyons, Lane, Southwood
Booked: McNair, Ballard, Thompson
Manager: Michael O’Neill