Hearts duo combine as Liam Boyce scores second international goal for Northern Ireland

Hearts striker Liam Boyce struck his second goal for Northern Ireland after being set up by his Tynecastle team mate Michael Smith in the 1-1 draw with Romania.

By Matthew Elder
Wednesday, 18th November 2020, 9:40 pm
Hearts forward Liam Boyce puts the ball over the line for the opening goal of the UEFA Nations League Group B1 match between Northern Ireland and Romania at Windsor Park. (Photo by PAUL FAITH / AFP)
Hearts forward Liam Boyce puts the ball over the line for the opening goal of the UEFA Nations League Group B1 match between Northern Ireland and Romania at Windsor Park. (Photo by PAUL FAITH / AFP)

Both players were named in Ian Baraclough’s starting 11 for the Nations League clash at Windsor Park on Wednesday evening with Boyce collecting his 27th cap, and Smith earning his 13th.

After a goalless first half, Boyce gave his country the lead shortly after the break, bundling the ball home from close range after right back Smith had whipped over an inviting cross following a short corner taken by Middlesborough’s Paddy McNair.

The goal came more than three years after Boyce broke his duck at international level, his first goal for Northern Ireland coming in a 1-0 friendly victory over New Zealand at Windsor Park in June 2017.

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Boyce’s strike was cancelled out by Eric Bacfalvi’s late equaliser for Romania as Northern Ireland were relegated from Nations League B, their fate having been confirmed prior to kick-off when a UEFA panel awarded Romania a 3-0 win for the cancelled game against Norway.

Norway were prevented from travelling after defender Omar Elabdellaoui tested positive for coronavirus. The Norwegian FA has five days to appeal the decision and is yet to decide if it will do so.

The result left Romania six points clear of Northern Ireland ahead of Wednesday's final group game between the two sides.

Ian Baraclough's side had lost four of their five previous Nations League games, picking up their only point in a 1-1 draw away at Romania in their opening game.

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