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By Mark Sterling
BBC Sport NI in Windsor Park
A calamitous target by Luxembourg defender Kevin Malget gave a 1-0 win at a friendly to Northern Ireland.
Malget headed into his own net in the first half of a match that has been livened up after the rest by the debut of Linfield striker Shayne Lavery.
Cardiff City defender Ciaron Brown, drafted in by the squad, made his debut in an experimental NI line-up.
NI play with Germany in a crucial Euro 2020 qualifier at Windsor Park on Monday.
The 1-0 victory moves Northern Ireland’s winning run to five matches when they won all of their four launching Euro 2020 qualifiers.
The house fans did their best to add some life to a friendly which had the appearance of a match that was being played by a house team which was selected by O’Neill together with the Euro 2020 qualifier in your thoughts of Monday and constantly started gradually.
Alfie McCalmont and Ethan Galbraithencouraged from the Under-21 panel of Ian Baraclough both came on due to their senior international debuts, while captain Steven Davis also came on to equivalent Aaron Hughes’ appearance record for outfield players.
The target of northern Ireland came from the head of visiting with defender Malget in the 37th minute.
George Saville headed it across goal and, when home keeper Anthony Moris struck clear under stress from Tom Flanagan, when seeking to steer clear Malget contrived to obtain the upper corner of his own net.
The goal came towards the end of a level first half in which Northern Ireland’s only real shining light was Gavin Whyte’s business and pace down the ideal wing.
The Cardiff City wide guy, who got a go to the Championship club in the summer after an impressive debut season with Oxford United, fell deep occasionally to pick up the ball and run his mark, although his conducts failed to create some primitive chances.
When he came off the bench to replace Kyle Lafferty at the 59th 21, linfield striker Lavery got a warm welcome.
His barnstorming runs up Windsor Park during Linfield’s Europa League rush and he was soon producing them in a green shirt, hitting the side netting with a shot against the first one before cleverly cutting down the ball into Thompson who blazed over the bar from a great position.
On a night after O’Neill was expected to name an experimental side, nobody could have predicted Cardiff City defender Ciaron Brown that was young to start at centre-half.
The London-born defender was drafted into the squad by the Under-21 panel and also lined up alongside Tom Flanagan, who himself won his second cap in the middle of the home defence.
Brown delivered a fine long pass through to Josh Magennis early , and won a flick-on in the opposition box that almost dropped to the Hull City striker in front of goal, but he was caught in possession several times when he attempted to take too much time on the ball.
Maurice Deville took it off him down the Luxembourg right and nearly broke into the box, although the 21-year-old was a bit over-ambitious when wanting to spray balls from the back.
Flanagan was in what must have been one of NI’s most inexperienced centre-half pairings using Craig Cathcart left from this squad with the Germany match on Monday in your thoughts and Jonny Evans.
Northern Ireland overcome Luxembourg 1-0 in a friendly because of a calamitous target.
David McGoldrick’s late header retains the Republic of Ireland unbeaten in Euro 2020 qualifying with a vital draw from Switzerland.
Before retiring following the World Cup rory Finest will captain Ireland from Wales in his look at the Aviva Stadium.
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