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Romania 1-1 Northern Ireland: Debutant Jamie Reid scores as youthful NI draw in Bucharest

A youthful Northern Ireland produced a strong performance in a 1-1 friendly draw with Euro 2024-bound Romania in Bucharest.

Northern Ireland took a shock lead when Jamie Reid scored just seven minutes into his international debut.

Parma's Dennis Man equalised midway through the first half for the hosts.

The draw means Romania are now unbeaten in 12 internationals, while Northern Ireland backed up November's win over Denmark with a solid display.

Manager Michael O'Neill had spoken about his belief in a young Northern Ireland squad as he builds for the future following a poor Euro 2024 qualifying campaign.

That was reflected in his starting team for the friendly, which had an average age of just 23.5 and the oldest player was 29-year-old debutant Reid.

But it was the Stevenage striker who made an immediate impact when he opened the scoring on seven minutes.

Conor Bradley, so impressive for club Liverpool, broke down the right to feed Shea Charles and the Southampton midfielder squared the ball across the edge of the box for Reid to calmly finish.

Dennis Man celebrates scoring for Romania
Dennis Man equalised for Romania midway through the first half

Northern Ireland looked dangerous on the counter attack and Florinel Coman made a strong tackle to deny Bradley as he broke into the area, before the full-back almost fed the stretching Isaac Price, who just couldn't get to the ball ahead of goalkeeper Florin Nita.

The 40,000-strong home crowd got the reward for their patience when Man levelled in the 24th minute as his powerful strike from inside the area went through the gloves of goalkeeper Conor Hazard, who will feel he should have done better to keep the effort out.

A long ball forward was well controlled by Man, and the Parma midfielder cut inside and beat the dejected Hazard.

Man almost replicated his effort as he worked his way into the area and let fly, but his strike hit team-mate George Puscas and the visitors cleared.

Romania - who will face Belgium, Slovakia and either Ukraine or Iceland at the Euros - almost took the lead in first-half injury-time when Vasile Mogos found space in the area but Brodie Spencer got a crucial touch on the ball as the full-back looked to let fly.

Romania dominated possession in the second half but struggled to break down the visitors.

Razvan Marin shot straight at half-time substitute Bailey Peacock-Farrell and home captain Nicolae Stanciu volleyed over from a well-worked corner.

Captain Paddy McNair and Spencer provided crucial interventions and while Northern Ireland looked dangerous on the counter attack, they were restricted to a long-range effort from McNair and a blocked effort from Price.

After a strong showing in Romania, O'Neill's side travel to Glasgow to face Scotland, who lost 4-0 to the Netherlands, on Tuesday in the second of March's friendlies.