Estonia beats Northern Ireland 4-1 at home

Estonia beats Northern Ireland 4-1 at home

Published Sep. 6, 2011 10:08 p.m. ET

Estonia took advantage of defensive errors to claim a 4-1 home win over Northern Ireland on Tuesday and boost its chances of qualifying for Euro 2012.

The result all but extinguished Northern Ireland's hopes of progressing from Group C to next year's finals in Poland and Ukraine.

Martin Vunk opened the scoring for Estonia in the 28th minute with a low shot and Tarmo Kink doubled the advantage four minutes later when Northern Ireland goalkeeper Lee Camp made a mess of dealing with his long-range effort.

Raio Piiroja headed an own goal in the 39th minute to give Northern Ireland hope, but Sergei Zenjov scored Estonia's third after another defensive error in the 60th and Kaimar Saag added a late fourth.


The win moved Estonia to 13 points from nine matches, one point behind Serbia in second. Northern Ireland stayed fifth with nine points from eight matches. Italy leads the group with 22 points and has qualified.

Mistakes proved to be Northern Ireland's downfall. After a cagey opening half hour, Dmitri Kruglov found space on the left flank and his cross was missed by Gareth McAuley to allow Vunk to hit a low shot past Camp from the edge of the box.

Camp then made a hash of Kink's long-range shot, allowing the ball to bounce off his legs and into the net to put Northern Ireland two goals behind.

Estonia captain Piiroja gave Northern Ireland a chance of getting back in the game when he headed into his own goal six minutes before half time after McAuley flicked on Sammy Clingan's deep free kick.

Any chance of a comeback started to evaporate in the 60th minute however when a looping header from Sander Puri hit the post and rebounded to McAuley. The defender had time to clear, but dwelt on the ball too long and allowed substitute Zenjov to nip in and fire past Camp.

Saag smashed a shot into the roof of the net from a tight angle in stoppage time to add gloss to the final score.



Estonia: Sergei Pareiko, Taavi Rahn, Raio Piiroja, Dmitri Kruglov, Sander Puri (Ats Purje, 63), Tarmo Kink (Kaimar Saag, 88), Martin Vunk, Konstantin Vassiljev, Ragnar Klavan, Enar Jaager, Jarmo Ahjupera (Sergei Zenjov, 53).

Northern Ireland: Lee Camp, Chris Baird, Craig Cathcart, Gareth McAuley, Sammy Clingan, Steven Davis, David Healy (Josh McQuoid, 65), Chris Brunt, Grant McCann, Niall McGinn (Warren Feeney, 65), Aaron Hughes.