McAuley double leaves Northern Ireland on brink of qualification
Gareth McAuley shone in Torshavn against the Faroe Islands, scoring two headers in a crucial 3-1 win for Michael O’Neill’s side.
Centre-half partner and new Albion signing Jonny Evans also completed 90 minutes, while Chris Brunt was substituted in the 83rd minute.
Northern Ireland’s second-goal was made in the Black Country, as McAuley nodded home Brunt’s delicious free-kick.
Friday night’s success means a victory over Hungary on Monday night in Belfast will secure their place at EURO 2016.
There was disappointment for midfield duo James Morrison and Darren Fletcher as the Tartan Army suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat in Tbilisi to Georgia.
Morrison completed the full 90 minutes while the Baggies skipper was an unused substitute.
The result is a huge blow to Scotland’s hopes of qualifying, with world champions Germany to come next on Monday evening.
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
James McClean watched on from the bench as Ireland registered a comfortable 4-0 win in Gibraltar.
Cyrus Christie, Robbie Keane (2) and ex-Albion forward Shane Long were all on target as Martin O’Neill’s side climbed to within two points of second-placed Poland.
Next up for the Republic is Georgia in Dublin on Monday night.
It was a disappointing night for Salomon Rondon. The striker missed a first-half penalty as his side lost 3-0 at home to Honduras in a friendly.
Venezuela have another practice game against Panama on Tuesday.