EURO 2016: Gareth McAuley double puts Northern Ireland on the brink of qualification

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Larne man Gareth McAuley scored twice as Northern Ireland defeated 10-man Faroe Islands 3-1 to take Michael O’Neill’s side to the brink of qualification for the Euro 2016 Championships.

Friday night’s result in Torshavn means Northern Ireland top Group F and a win in Monday’s home clash against Hungary would see them book their spot for the tournament in France next summer.

McAuley headed Michael O’Neill’s men in front on 12 minutes but the hosts cancelled it out when Joan Simun Edmundsson levelled before the break.

Edmundsson was dismissed for a second bookable offence on 64 minutes and the visitors seized the initiative.

McAuley nodded in his second of the night when he got on the end of a Chris Brunt free-kick before Kyle Lafferty wrapped up a precious three points, landing his sixth goal of the campaign with 15 minutes left on the clock.