Conor keeps in contention for number one position

Conor keeps in contention for number one position

31 March 2021

DOWNPATRICK goalkeeper Conor Hazard gave a very impressive display on his Windsor Park debut for Northern Ireland on Sunday evening.

Hazard made a number of fine saves throughout the friendly match, but was unable to stop his side losing 2-1 to the United States.

Despite starting sharply, Northern Ireland began to crack as the game approached the half hour mark.

There was little the 23 year-old Celtic custodian could do as the USA took the lead with a heavily 

deflected shot, which left him stranded.

Ian Baraclough’s green and white army managed to steady the ship and see out the half without further damage being inflicted. 

There was more bad luck just 15 minutes into the second half as a dubious penalty was awarded to the visitors.

Chelsea player Christian Pulisic slotted home the resulting spot kick just underneath the outstretched arm of Hazard.

However, the local shot-stopper certainly did enough to keep himself in Baraclough’s plans as a contender for the number one position. 

He made a fine save to deny Daryl Dike’s attempt and prevent the match being put to bed early. 

The goalkeeper again got the better of Dike, after saving superbly with ten minutes left to go on the clock. 

There was no respite for Hazard, as just minutes later he was once more called into action to prevent Sebastian Lletget from adding a third goal.

A late resurgence from the home team was a case of too little, too late as Niall McGinn thumped home a spectacular effort for a consolation goal.

Northern Ireland face Bulgaria tonight in their second World Cup qualifying match after being beaten by 2-0 Italy in their opening fixture.