Q Radio Sport
A bizarre own goal from Kevin Malget was enough to give an experimental Northern Ireland side a 1-0 victory over Luxembourg in their Windsor Park friendly on Thursday night.
Malget inexplicably headed into his own net eight minutes before half-time to settle a low-key match as both sides looked to more important challenges to come on Monday.
For Northern Ireland, that is a Euro 2020 qualifier against Germany, a match which loomed large in Michael O'Neill's thinking as he sprung a few surprises in a youthful starting line-up.
🎥 All over @NorthernIreland 1 Luxembourg 0. O.G. below. Useful exercise, badly-needed game time for some. Impressive cameo from sub @OfficialBlues striker Shayne Lavery. Healthy crowd 14,108. Bring on the Germans! #GAWA https://t.co/JXHcGE21Om— Q Radio News (@qnewsdesk) September 5, 2019
Cardiff defender Ciaron Brown - uncapped at any level and only called into Ian Baraclough's U21s squad last week - started and looked assured as O'Neill made eight changes to the side that beat Belarus in June.
Blackpool midfielder Jordan Thompson was also given his first start and Leeds United midfielder Alfie McCalmont and Ethan Galbraith made their international bows as a second-half substitutes.
Corry Evans, captain for the night, survived, along with goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell and Josh Magennis, but Jonny Evans, Craig Cathcart and Conor Washington did not even make the matchday squad.
O'Neill's side would not manage a shot on target in the opening 45 minutes, but they would take the lead before the break thanks to Malget's own goal.
George Saville headed the ball back into the mix after Luxembourg failed to deal with a corner. Though goalkeeper Moris beat Tom Flanagan to the ball, it span up before Malget headed home, at the wrong end of the pitch.
Fans out in force from all over NI for tonight’s friendly including a familiar face around Windsor Park ex @Ballinamallard star now @OfficialBlues European hero Mark Stafford - with wife Kylie. @NorthernIreland #GAWA pic.twitter.com/wA0KY0xBGD— Q Radio News (@qnewsdesk) September 5, 2019
Northern Ireland now host Germany in European Qualifiers Group C on Monday at 7.45pm.
Also on Thursday night, the Republic drew 1-1 with Switzerland in Dublin and stay top of their Euro 2020 group.
There are five matches in the Danske Bank Premiership at 3pm on Saturday.
Cliftonville host Linfield while there's a top six clash at the Oval with Glentoran facing Larne.
Coleraine have Dungannon Swifts, Ballymena play Warrenpoint and Crusaders take on Institute at the Brandywell.