Gareth McAuley’s unfortunate own goal was sufficient to gift Wales victory in Paris and book themselves a berth in the quarter-finals of this year’s European Championships.
In a game low on quality, Northern Ireland created more chances, but each of them turned to be fruitless. The breakthrough finally arrived in the 75th minute when Gareth Bale’s whipping low cross was turned in by a desperate McAuley in an attempt to stop the cross from reaching Hal Robson-Kanu at the far post.
Here are some of the talking points of the game at the French capital:-
#1 Northern Ireland have the upper hand in the first half
It was a relatively low-key first half, with both sides creating half chances at best. Stuart Dallas’ low shot from a difficult angle was saved by goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey, while Aaron Ramsey’s goal was ruled out for offside. Rather surprisingly, it was Michael O’Neill’s side which edged the first half.
The Irish looked the fresher and the more purposeful of the two teams, creating the greater number of opportunities. They were also pretty inventive when it came to set-pieces, applying various techniques to catch the Welsh defence. Though they ended up losing the game, Northern Ireland must at least take heart from the fact they went down fighting and due to a terrible slice of bad luck.