Goals in each half from Katharina Schiechtl and substitute Katharina Naschenweng sealed a victory that keeps Austria right in the hunt for a place in the knockouts.
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Austria will go into their final Group A game with hopes of a place in the UEFA Women's EURO 2022 quarter-finals very much alive after a 2-0 win against a Northern Ireland side now resigned to an early exit.
19' Schiechtl taps in Puntigam's driven free-kick
42' Dunst effort tipped onto crossbar by Burns
88' Naschenweng fires in after another Puntigam pass
Match in brief: Austria too strong
Austria had to weather an early storm in their opening-day defeat by England; here, they sought to impose themselves from the off. Utilising the flanks, with Julia Hickelsberger-Füller particularly dangerous down the right, they pinned back Northern Ireland and soon fashioned the breakthrough.
It came from another darting run from Hickelsberger-Füller, earning a free-kick that Sarah Puntigam drove towards the far post. Right-back Katharina Schiechtl, up for her aerial threat, let her feet do the talking with a deft touch diverting it past Jackie Burns.
Burns was busy all evening without being stretched too often, though she did well to atone for a poor clearance and tip Barbara Dunst's fine effort onto the crossbar before the break. Northern Ireland grew into the game but never threatened an equaliser – and the game was up when Katharina Naschenweng collected Puntigam's long pass and fired in.
Player of the Match: Barbara Dunst (Austria)
"Good attacking play on the flanks. Made a positive impact on the game in and out of possession."
UEFA Technical Observer panel
Joanna Kozak, Austria reporter
Austria keep their hopes of advancing to the next stage alive with a modest victory. They demonstrated their class in spells today but didn't impress with their attacking efficiency. Because of that, they were forced into a nervy wait until Naschenweng added a superb second.
Samantha Miller, Northern Ireland reporter
Northern Ireland can be proud of the way they worked as a unit. They defended incredibly well, never stopped pushing and really deserved something from the game. It is just that final ball which is eluding them.
Barbara Dunst, Austria midfielder: "It was a very tough match, just as we expected. I am proud of the whole team. We fought until the last minute."
Irene Fuhrmann, Austria coach: "This feels very good. We were excellent in the first half. In the second, we made it a bit exciting again. In the end, we are very happy that we managed the win."
Kenny Shiels, Northern Ireland manager: "They weren't that much better than us but they were in the key areas; 2-0 is probably about right. Winning is important, but I have a priority in my head where if it looks like we won't win it, let's give the younger ones experience."
Sarah McFadden, Northern Ireland defender: "We put so much into the first half. In the second half we came at them but we just didn't get a clear-cut chance. We thought today was going to be our first three points at this tournament."
- Austria have won eight of their last ten international matches, losing the other two.
- This was only the second time Austria have scored more than one goal in a Women's EURO game.
- Austria have lost just once in seven Women's EURO finals outings, penalties excluded.
- Right-back Schiechtl's goal was her eighth in 62 caps for Austria.
- Austria have conceded just two goals in seven Women's EURO finals matches to date.
- Northern Ireland have lost their last six matches in all competitions.
Austria: Zinsberger; Schiechtl, Wenninger, Schnaderbeck (Georgieva 46), Hanshaw; Hickelsberger-Füller (Naschenweng 73), Zadrazil, Puntigam, Höbinger (Feiersinger 46), Dunst; Billa (Makas 85)
Northern Ireland: Burns; McKenna (Magee 73), Nelson (McDaniel 86), McFadden, Vance; Furness (Andrews 79), Callaghan (C McGuiness 86), McCarron, Holloway; Wade, K McGuiness (Wilson 79)
Northern Ireland return to St Mary's on Friday for a much-anticipated clash with hosts England, while Austria round off their Group A campaign with a potential winner-takes-all match against Norway along the coast in Brighton & Hove.