Lafferty on target as Northern Ireland claim a vital win

Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty (left huddle) celebrates scoring his side's third goal of the game

Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty (left huddle) celebrates scoring his side's third goal of the game with his team-mates during the UEFA European Championship Qualifying match at the Torsvollur, Torshavn. Picture date: Friday September 4, 2015. See PA story SOCCER Faroe Islands. Photo credit should read: John Walton/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

Norwich City striker Kyle Lafferty's sixth goal of the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign helped Northern Ireland to a 3-1 victory over the Faroe Islands and moved them to the verge of a place in European Championship Finals in France next summer.

Gareth McAuley headed the visitors ahead after 12 minutes but Joan Edmundsson equalised prior to the break in Torshavn following an error from Stuart Dallas.

However, Edmundsson was dismissed for two cautions after the hour and Michael O'Neill's men took full advantage - McAuley nodding in from another right-wing free-kick before Lafferty - who has yet to feature for City's first team this season -fired in a third.

With third-placed Hungary only drawing with previous leaders Romania, the Northern Irish moved to the top of Group F with three games remaining and victory over the Hungarians in Belfast on Monday would seal their passage to a major international tournament for the first time since the 1986 World Cup.

It was a comfortable night for Wes Hoolahan and Robbie Brady as the Republic of Ireland beat Group D minnows Gibraltar 4-0 in Faro with Robbie Keane scoring twice and Cyrus Christie and Shane Long also scoring. Brady played the full game while Hoolahan was replaced 13 minutes from time by Aiden McGeady.

There was disappointment for City skipper Russell Martin, who played the full 90 minutes as Scotland were beaten 1-0 by Georgia in the same section in Tblisi. Norwich colleague Steven Whittaker was an unused substitute.

Gordon Strachan's side could still reach next year's finals in France but will need a positive result against world champions Germany at Hampden Park on Monday evening to stand a realistic chance of making it.

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