Northern Ireland 1-0 Italy: Sarah McFadden scores a famous winner in Belfast

Sarah McFadden won against the Italians in Belfast

Sarah McFadden scored a famous winner as Northern Ireland completed a historic 2022 with a 1-0 win over Italy at Seaview.

McFadden headed home in the 63rd minute in front of a sell-out Belfast crowd.

Italy, ranked 14th in the world, compared to 49th Northern Ireland, went for a draw but struggled to break down the home defence.

The match was NI’s first at home since the Euro 2022 final, the country’s premier women’s tournament.

The winner came as Northern Ireland produced their best performance of the game on the hour mark. Half-time substitute Joely Andrews forced Italy goalkeeper Laura Giuliani into a fine save and Demi Vance’s corner was tapped in by Emily Wilson.

Giuliani was able to keep out the striker’s effort, but McFadden reacted quickest to find the bottom corner and set up a memorable victory.

In the cramped Seaview pitch that Northern Ireland won before the Euros, manager Kenny Shiels’ side largely contained the Italians but were dangerous on the counter-attack, with Lauren Wade’s pace in particular causing defensive problems for the visitors. .

Federica Cafferata dragged an early effort for Italy and at the other end, some confident passing ended with a sneaky pass into the goal that almost let Caragh Hamilton in, but keeper Giuliani got a touch to deny the lurking winger. .

The hosts surged into the early stages and Callaghan’s first-time effort curled into the throat of the Milan keeper.

Italy struggled to get their flair players on the ball and were limited to half chances. Valentina Cernoia saw a powerful effort blocked by Nadene Caldwell, and Barbara Bonansea fired into the arms of the comforting Jackie Burns.

Wade was causing trouble reading down the wing, and he got there ahead of Guiliani, but his strength took him out of the game, and Italy’s best chance came when the impressive Rebecca McKenna lost the ball in her own half and Manuela Giugliano shot wide. net when trying to lift the ball over Burns.

Both sides were limited to long-range efforts late in the half, with Chloe McCarron and Caldwell both wide as Cristina Girelli forced Burns into a straightforward save.

Lauren Wade's pace caused the Italian defense problems
Lauren Wade’s pace caused the Italian defense problems

McFadden NI held firm

Juventus striker Giirelli headed wide and Cernoia shot wide as the Italians started the second half on the front foot.

However, Northern Ireland’s best play of the game came on the hour mark when Andrews picked out Emily Wilson, and the Crusaders striker returned the pass but Andrews’ low effort was held out by Giuliani.

Andrews was again involved as Hamilton showed great strength and pace to get to the line and his cut back forced Giuliani into a powerful save from the Glentoran midfielder.

McFadden headed home from the opening corner to spark wild celebrations.

The goal changed the mood around Seaview and lifted Northern Ireland. Vance stepped forward from left-back to test Giuliani, who was the busiest of the goalkeepers, but Italy came back into the game and Giugliano saw an effort deflected wide.

Burns made a superb dive to save Beatrice Merlo’s header but, in a blow to Northern Ireland, McFadden was sent off with a leg injury and was replaced by Julie Nelson, who won her 130th cap.

Seconds later Caitlan McGuinness was millimeters away from scoring her second international goal when she touched the ball past Giuliani, but her effort was weak and cleared off the line.

Italy were frustrated and pushed forward but Northern Ireland held firm as Toni-Leigh Finnegan and McGuinness fired over in the closing stages.

The eleven

Northern Ireland

training 4-2-3-1

  • 1BurnsBooked in 80 minutes
  • 2McKenna
  • 13the holes
  • 4McFaddenreplaced byNelsonin 80′minutes
  • 3Vance
  • 16Caldwellreplaced byAndrewsin 45′minutes
  • 7McCarronreplaced byin Finnin 88′minutes
  • 18Hamiltonreplaced byMcDanielin 73′minutes
  • 8Callaghan
  • 19Wilsonreplaced byMcGuinnessin 73′minutes
  • 14Wadereplaced byMcGuinnessin 73′minutes


  • 5Nelson
  • 6in Finn
  • 9McGuinness
  • 10McDaniel
  • 11McGuinness
  • 20Andrews
  • 89beattie
  • 90Turner
  • 91Magee
  • 95Maxwell
  • 96Holloway
  • 99Morgan


training 3-5-2

  • 1Giuliani
  • 13Bartolireplaced byblackbirdin 45′minutes
  • 15Philanthropy
  • 17in the boatreplaced byIt wasin 71′minutes
  • 3Cafferata
  • 7Simonettireplaced byCarusoin 71′minutes
  • 6Giugliano
  • 21Cernoiareplaced bythe chickensin 89′minutes
  • 19Glionnareplaced byHyacinthsin 71′minutes
  • 10The walkers
  • 11bonanzareplaced byCantorin 45′minutes


  • 2blackbird
  • 5It was
  • 9Hyacinths
  • 16the chickens
  • 18Caruso
  • 20Cantor

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