Newcastle trio Jamal Lewis, Jeff Hendrick and Ryan Fraser all found themselves in penalty shoutouts last night as their respective international sides fought for a place in a EURO 2020 playoff final .
Lewis and Hendrick played the full game, and it was good news for the former who saw his team Northern Ireland win on penalties against Bosnia & Herzegovina.
On the other hand, it was a night to forget for Hendrick and fellow Mag Ciaran Clark (the latter travelled but wasn’t fit to play), as the Republic of Ireland crashed out after Tottenham’s Matt Doherty rattled the deciding penalty off of the bar against Slovakia.
This means that Lewis’ Northern Ireland will now face Slovakia in their playoff final – a crucial game NUFC star Martin Dubravka could well return for as he continues his comeback from a ankle injury that’s kept him out of the first few weeks of 2020/21.
It was also comforting to see Ryan Fraser get another run-out, with him also enjoying a long but successful night for Scotland.
He came on in the 80th minute and played half an hour in the end as the Scots were eventually held to penalties. They too won, and will now face Serbia in a playoff final.
Win against ex-Mag Aleksandar Mitrovic next month and they’ve qualified for the full tournament!
Despite the mixed results, it’s always good to see NUFC players compete at an international level. It will only help Fraser get towards his sharpest self – and Hendrick and Lewis have both come out of their fixtures completely unscathed, even if one will be elated and the other deflated to miss out.