Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland celebrate after scoring with Gareth McAuley against Ukraine. Pictured: Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley celebrates after scoring their first goal on June 16, 2016.Reuters

Northern Ireland have secured three crucial points and they are well in the chase for that elusive spot in Euro 2016 quarter-finals. Gareth McAuley and Niall McGinn scored the goals for Northern Ireland. Ukraine have been knocked out of contention for sure now.

Right from the start of the game, Northern Ireland showed a lot of conviction. However, the game was cagey till the first 45 minutes. Things became a little more difficult in the second half for Ukraine as Northern Ireland mostly controlled the ball possession.

The goal came in the 49th minute from a set piece. Oliver Norwood delivered the cross and McAuley was at the right place in the right time to blast the ball into the back of the net with a brilliant header.

It was indeed a sublime strike from McAuley that put Northern Ireland in the drivers' seat in this match against Ukraine. After that goal, Northern Ireland kept on pressing and they could have put a couple more inside the Ukraine net but it did not happen. 

Michael O'Neill's side put up an outstanding show at the Stade de Lyon on Thursday. It was all happening at the Stade de Lyon on Thursday as torrential rain and hailstorm stopped the play for two minutes during the second half as well.  

Ukraine wasted a number of chances throughout the match. Yevhen Seleznyov came awfully close to scoring in the 63rd minute of the match but the ball went wide of the target. 

Andriy Yarmolenko's strike in the 89th minute was saved by the Northern Ireland goalkeeper Michael McGovern, who was outstanding throughout the game as well. He made a number of crucial saves towards the end of the match which turned out to be extremely crucial. 

Jonny Evans was by far the best defender for Northern Ireland as he made Yarmolenko look average in the match on Thursday.  

Either sides had to play six minutes of stoppage time as the match was interrupted by adverse weather conditions. In that stoppage time Northern Ireland managed to put one more into the back of the net with a strike from Niall McGinn. 

O'Neill will be extremely happy with this result as they now will maintain pressure on Germany and Poland in Group C. If somehow Germany and Poland somehow ends up drawing against each other, Norther Ireland will have a good opportunity to make it to the quarter-finals of Euro 2016.

Watch the highlights of the match here

Also read