International round-up: Joy for Norwich City striker Kyle Lafferty with Northern Ireland
- Credit: PA
Norwich City striker Kyle Lafferty struck a stoppage-time equaliser as 10-man Northern Ireland salvaged a 1-1 draw against Hungary to keep their Euro 2016 dreams very much on course.
Victory on the 10th anniversary of their famous win over England would have secured Michael O'Neill's men a place in France next summer, but the night looked set to end in acrimony as Michael McGovern's goalkeeping error gifted Richard Guzmics the opener in the 74th minute.
Chris Baird was sent off with eight minutes left, having committed a pair of fouls within seconds, but Lafferty's seventh strike of the campaign – a close-range blast following up Niall McGinn's effort – ensured a 1-1 draw.
It came from just about their final chance of the evening, a hard-won corner on the right which saw Steve Davis heave one last delivery into the box.
The ball fell to McGinn, whose snap-shot was well stopped by Gabor Kiraly.
But that man Lafferty, unable to get a game at Norwich, yet unable to stop scoring international goals, belted home first time to grab a critical point.
Lafferty, who has yet to appear for the Canaries this season after finishing last term on loan in Turkey, celebrated his close-range effort with gusto, charging down the flank and leaping in joy, but even he cannot have been as pleased as McGovern, whose handling error looked to have settled matters.
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Having been retained ahead of long-standing number one Roy Carroll, it was a dreadful moment for the Hamilton stopper.
McLaughlin joined Lafferty in earning a one-game ban when he was booked for a push on Kalmar, whose free-kick was creeping under the bar until McGovern pushed it over. His next involvement ended in tears as he came to claim a regulation catch from Balasz Dzsudzsak's hanging free-kick.
Inexplicably he let the ball slide through his gloves, leaving a disbelieving Guzmics a one-yard finish.
With Romania drawing against Greece, O'Neill's men remain top of Group F - though Lafferty will miss the potentially decisive clash with the Greeks next month having picked up a second booking.
It was a frenetic finish in Belfast but once again showed Northern Ireland's desire to reach a first major tournament in 30 years is alive and kicking.
The result means Northern Ireland will qualify if they win either of their last two matches against at home to Greece or away to Finland.
• There was no joy for Lafferty's City colleague Russell Martin as Scotland lost 3-2 at home to West Germany while in the same group Wes Hoolahan and Robbie Brady helped the Republic of Ireland to a narrow 1-0 win over Georgia.