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Josh Magennis strikes late for Northern Ireland to beat Belarus

The best moments in football are so blissfully simple as to appear in slow motion. Northern Ireland roared in a manner so customary under Michael O’Neill with a late winner which owed everything to ease. Stuart Dallas found Paddy McNair on the right and the cross was tapped home by Josh Magennis. Northern Ireland’s toils in a game they fully deserved to win were suddenly forgotten as Windsor Park erupted. Make that six points out of six from encounters with Estonia and Belarus.

Such reward is probably essential, of course, given Germany and the Netherlands are in this section. Nonetheless, in continuing the brilliantly uplifting storyline created by O’Neill, Northern Ireland should cherish continuing success. They chortle in the face of nations with considerably greater football resources than their own.

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