Northern Ireland advance to UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 after 4-1 win over Ukraine | Football News
Marissa Callaghan and Nadene Caldwell confirmed Northern Ireland’s qualification for UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 by beating Ukraine 2-0 in their second leg of their play-off.
Skipper Callaghan’s 55th-minute strike gave his side the lead at Seaview in Belfast before substitute Caldwell added a second in the stoppage time to make it 4-1 on aggregate and secure the country’s first-ever appearance to a final tournament.
Kenny Shiels’ side, which won 2-1 at Kovalivka on Friday, started off brilliantly and threatened with a series of set pieces that repeatedly put goalkeeper Kateryna Samson under pressure.
However, as great Ukrainian midfielders Olha Boychenko and Olha Ovdiychuk started to look like they were served with a reminder that their job was far from over.
Everton forward Simone Magill, who scored the winner of Northern Ireland in the first leg, tested Samson from a tight angle 12 minutes before the break, but goalkeeper Jackie Burns was relieved to see Daryna Apanaschenko hanging out his shot wide in the first half.
In a messy start to the second half, the home side dominated without creating any real chances and when they finally took the lead that night it was the result of persistence rather than quality.
Callaghan climbed to help on Julie Nelson’s deep free kick and as defender Darya Kravets hesitated she chased the stray ball and stabbed it in front of Samson.
The visitors collapsed over time and midfielder Natiya Pantsulaya was sent off for a cynical foul on Sarah McFadden, before Caldwell secured himself in the sixth minute of extra time.