Northern Ireland 1-2 USA: Giovanni Reyna and Christian Pulisic on target for visitors in friendly win as Ian Baraclough’s wait for a first 90-minute win as manager stretches to 10 games
- Northern Ireland were beaten 2-1 by the USA at Windsor Park in a friendly match
- Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic and Borussia Dortmund’s Giovanni Reyna both netted
- Niall McGinn pulled one back late on but Northern Ireland could not find another
- Hosts face Bulgaria next on Wednesday in big home World Cup qualifier clash
Ian Baraclough is still searching for his first 90-minute win as Northern Ireland manager after falling to a friendly defeat against a star-studded USA.
The former Scunthorpe and Motherwell boss replaced the much-loved Michael O’Neill in the Windsor Park dugout last summer, having been promoted from his role with the country’s Under-21s.
But Baraclough’s only triumph in his 10 games in charge was on penalties in last October’s Euro 2020 play-off semi-final in Bosnia.
Ian Baraclough is still yet to secure he first 90-minute win as manager of Northern Ireland
The hosts fell to a 2-1 friendly defeat to USA ahead of a huge World Cup qualifier midweek
And after goals from Borussia Dortmund’s Gio Reyna and Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic last night, his record now matches that of his Republic of Ireland counterpart Stephen Kenny, who has also lost six and won none of his first 10 games.
Baraclough said: ‘I hate losing games of football. But I will take the flak from the players. The stuff that is written is not a problem to me.
‘I know we are going in the right direction and integrating a really good group of players. It is something that we have to be patient with. But if we are not counting Bosnia, then yes, I want to get that first victory.’
Christian Pulisic scored a tame penalty to double his side’s advantage with 59 minutes gone
Baraclough will not be judged on games like this, having made 10 changes against a team ranked 22 in the world and boasting a host of players from Europe’s top leagues.
But the pressure will build if he fails to beat Bulgaria on Wednesday night in a home World Cup qualifier which already looks crucial for their chances of reaching Qatar after they lost in Italy last week.
Things may have been different last night had Kyle Lafferty, captaining a side for the first time in his career, not dragged wide with an early chance which could have end his five-year international goal drought.
Kyle Lafferty was given the captain’s armband and should have given his side the lead
Because they went behind after half-an-hour when Reyna – son of USA legend Claudio – saw his 22-yard strike take a wicked deflection off diving defender Ciaron Brown to float over keeper Conor Hazard, who was making his first Northern Ireland start.
Pulisic doubled the visitors’ lead with a 59th-minute penalty after he went down under a challenge from Daniel Ballard, who appeared to get a nick on the ball.
Northern Ireland sub Niall McGinn gave the hosts some hope two minutes from time with a stunning volley from a bouncing ball on the right-edge of the box – but it was not enough to avoid another defeat.
Niall McGinn (L) score a superb late goal to halve the deficit but there was no late equaliser
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