Slovenia 4-2 Northern Ireland: Andraz Sporar scores twice as hosts dominate and dent Michael O’Neill’s Euro 2024 qualification hopes
Northern Ireland suffered a setback in their Euro 2024 qualification campaign as they were defeated 4-2 by Slovenia in an intense match. The Slovenian team, led by Andraz Sporar’s brace, put on an impressive display to secure the victory.
The game started off with both teams showing their attacking intent, but it was Slovenia who struck first. In the 15th minute, Sporar capitalized on a defensive error from Northern Ireland to give his team an early lead. However, the visitors responded quickly, with Conor Washington equalizing just two minutes later.
The match continued to be an end-to-end affair, with both sides creating chances. However, it was Slovenia who regained the lead in the 33rd minute through a goal from Josip Ilicic. The home team’s advantage was short-lived, though, as Stuart Dallas found the back of the net for Northern Ireland just before half-time, making it 2-2 at the break.
The second half saw Slovenia take control of the game, dominating possession and creating numerous opportunities. Their efforts paid off in the 58th minute when Sporar scored his second goal of the night to put Slovenia in front once again. The hosts continued to press forward and added a fourth goal in the 72nd minute, courtesy of Haris Vuckic.
Despite Northern Ireland’s best efforts to mount a comeback, they were unable to find the back of the net again. The final score remained 4-2 in favor of Slovenia, dealing a blow to Michael O’Neill’s side and their hopes of qualifying for Euro 2024.
The defeat leaves Northern Ireland in a challenging position in their qualification group. They currently sit in fourth place, four points behind group leaders Slovenia. With only three games remaining, O’Neill’s team will need to produce strong performances in order to keep their hopes alive.
Slovenia, on the other hand, will be pleased with their performance and the three points earned from this victory. The win puts them in a favorable position at the top of the group, increasing their chances of securing a spot in the Euro 2024 tournament.
Both teams will now turn their attention to their upcoming fixtures as they continue their quest for Euro 2024 qualification. Northern Ireland will face Lithuania in their next match, while Slovenia will take on Bulgaria.