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We had enough chances to win three matches: Cathcart

Northern Ireland's Craig Cathcart and Azerbaijan's Rauf Aliyev pictured during Wednesday night's 2014 World Cup qualifier. Photo: Brian Little / Presseye

Northern Ireland's Craig Cathcart and Azerbaijan's Rauf Aliyev pictured during Wednesday night's 2014 World Cup qualifier. Photo: Brian Little / Presseye

Craig Cathcart says Northern Ireland created enough chances to win three matches in last night’s World Cup qualifier with Azerbaijan.

The game, played in front of packed Windsor Park, ended in a frustrating 1-1 draw after Michael O’Neill’s men squandered a string of glorious opportunities in front of goal.

Rauf Aliyev stunned the Green and White Army with just five minutes on the clock when he gave the visitors the lead with a long-range strike. Substitute David Healy rode to the rescue in the dying minutes, netting his 36th international goal with well-placed free-kick.

“It was a very frustrating night. We have created enough chances to win three or four matches and tonight it just didn’t go our way. We had great opportunities in the box, but they just wouldn’t go in for us,” Cathcart told the Times.

“It was a difficult game because we didn’t have much defending to do and it got a little bit stretched because we were pushing for a goal. But, I think, overall, the whole team showed they can create chances at home and, hopefully, that will soon turn into victories.”

The Blackpool defender said it was ‘just one of those nights’ as he came agonisingly close to landing his first international goal with opportunities either side of the interval.

“In the first half I missed from a header and in the second half I think I maybe rushed my chance a little bit. Perhaps the chances just fell to the wrong players on the night. It just happened so quickly, I just took it on my chest and tried to hit it as quickly as I could; maybe I didn’t know how much time I had.”

The Newtownabbey man added: “When we went in at half-time, we knew we were creating chances, and we knew that if we kept playing our game we would eventually make the breakthrough like we did. We just tried to stay positive and come out and do what we were doing.”

Report by John Gillespie | Twitter: @Times_Sport

Related story: McAuley left frustrated as NI draw

 
 
 

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