Northern Ireland lost the opening game of their end-of-season tour in Connecticut as they went down 0-2 in searing heat to fellow tourists Turkey, the Irish Times reports.
Playing in early afternoon heat of 93 Celsius at Veterans Memorial Stadium, Nigel Worthington’s team, featuring five debutants in the starting line-up, kept a lively Turkish side at bay for the first 45 minutes without launching an attack themselves.
New Turkey manager Guus Hiddink, who had seen his side beat the Czech Republic 2-1 last Saturday in New Jersey, changed his personnel at half-time and the switched produced a goal three minutes after the break as substitute Sercan Yildirim slid the ball beyond Linfield goalkeeper Alan Blayney.
Blayney had been one of four Irish League players handed a first cap, along with club-mates Robert Garrett and Jamie Mulgrew and Portadown’s Kevin Braniff. The fifth new cap went to teenage winger Johnny Gorman of Wolves, aged 17 years 212 days, who had been given permission by Repton School to delay his A level Physical Education exam from this Friday to January.
Northern Ireland spent long periods without the ball and their first attempt on goal came in the 54th minute when full-back Andrew Little hooked a shot onto the roof of the Turkey net.
Turkish dominance continued, however, with another sub, Semih Senturk, finding the net in 72nd minute, slotting home from just inside the area as Worthington’s defence was unable to clear its lines.
Worthington introduced more new blood with the Josh Magennis, Michael Bryan, James Lawrie, Rory McArdle and Colin Coates all sent on in the last 20 minutes and the new-look side stood firm in the face of a series of further Turkey attacks.
Northern Ireland were set to leave Connecticut immediately after the game for a 5,000-mile flight to Chile, whose World Cup-bound side they will face in Chillan on Sunday night.
Other International Friendly Results
Estonia 0 Croatia 0
France 2 Costa Rica 1
Netherlands 2 Mexico 1
USA 2 Czech Republic 4