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Evans the hero as Northern Ireland stun Slovenia

Slovenia 0-1 Northern Ireland
The visitors ended their ten-match wait for a win in their Group C opener thanks to a goal from substitute Corry Evans in Maribor.

Corry Evans (right) celebrates scoring Northern Ireland's winner in Slovenia
Corry Evans (right) celebrates scoring Northern Ireland's winner in Slovenia ©Getty Images

Northern Ireland shocked Slovenia in their opening Group C fixture in Maribor as substitute Corry Evans' 70th-minute strike earned the visitors an unlikely victory.

The 20-year-old from Manchester United FC found the net just three minutes after taking the pitch to register his first international goal and claim all three points for a Northern Irish side who had arrived in Maribor winless in ten matches and without a goal in their seven previous outings.

There was little inkling of the eventual upset in the first half when Slovenia, victorious in five out of six home fixtures en route to qualifying for this summer's FIFA World Cup, spurned several decent chances. Valter Birsa looked poised to score in the 21st minute when Zlatan Ljubijankič's low ball into the box deflected his way off Craig Cathcart but the defender recovered well to divert the shot over the crossbar. Milivoje Novakovič then directed a free header straight at Maik Taylor before, with half-time looming, Andraž Kirm flashed a ball across goal after breaking clear on the right.

Nigel Worthington's men remained under pressure after the restart as Birsa had an excellent opportunity in the 48th minute but his left-foot effort at the far post deflected behind off a green shirt. With 20 minutes remaining, however, the visitors struck as Cathcart cut in from the left and delivered a superb low cross that Evans, arriving at the far post in front of his marker, turned in. There was still time for several Slovenian near-misses, Taylor saving low from Josip Iličič, but when Tim Matavž turned over a last-gasp volley at full stretch, it confirmed it was Northern Ireland's night.