Northern Ireland’s Euro 2020 dreams fell at the final hurdle as Michal Duris’ extra-time winner sent Slovakia to next summer’s finals with a 2-1 win at Windsor Park.Slovakia had led for most of normal time with the opening goal handed to them by George Saville, whose poor backwards header was pounced upon by Juraj Kucka to fire home from the edge of the box (17).- Advertisement – Image:A total of 1,060 fans were allowed inside Windsor Park for the play-off final Subs: Thompson (6), Whyte (6), Lafferty (7), Boyce (6), Flanagan (5), Ferguson (5).Away Team: Rodak (5), Pekarik (7), Satka (7), Skriniar (6), Hubocan (6), Lobotka (5), Rusnak (7), Kucka (7), Hamsik (6), Mak (6), Duda (5).Subs: Duris (7), Hrosovsky (6), Mraz (6), Gregus (5), Gyomber (n/a).- Advertisement – – Advertisement – Eight minutes into the second period, Stanislav Lobotka became a victim of the hosts’ newfound threat, and from McGinn’s interception, Conor Washington turned in the box before shooting straight at Rodak when he should have levelled.But real chances remained at a premium after that near-miss, including the hosts’ equaliser when it finally came, three minutes from time. McNair found space on the right flank and after reaching the byline pulled the ball to a long queue of players in the six-yard box. However, it took only first man Skriniar to clumsily divert the ball past his own goalkeeper and bring them level.Into extra-time, the game went with Northern Ireland finally enjoying the bit between their teeth, and influential substitute Kyle Lafferty coming close to capping his superb cameo with a goal when glancing McNair’s volley goalwards, but straight at Rodak. How Northern Ireland went so close, yet so farNorthern Ireland have not started games well under Ian Baraclough – they were yet to score the first goal in a game under him – but in front of just over 1,000 home fans, they began at a good tempo.Unable to turn their territory into opportunities, however, Slovakia grew in confidence and increasingly began to cause problems on the flanks. But their goal would owe little to quality, with a mistimed backwards header from Saville pounced on by Kucka, who strode forward to beat Peacock-Farrell. Team newsIan Baraclough’s only change from Northern Ireland’s win over Bosnia-Herzegovina saw the injured Corry Evans replaced by Conor Washington.New Slovakia Stefan Tarkovic made six changes to his side, including a return for Inter Milan defender Milan Skriniar. Josh Magennis should have tested Rodak with a free header from Paddy McNair’s corner minutes later but misjudged his effort. Only moments before the break, they threatened again, with Stuart Dallas and Niall McGinn both missing the target with wayward efforts in quick succession.As has become increasingly familiar, the only similarity between Northern Ireland’s first and second-half performances was the numbers on their backs – and in harrying and pressing their visitors from the restart, they looked a different prospect altogether. A much-improved second-half performance from the hosts was finally rewarded three minutes from full-time when Paddy McNair’s cross was bundled past his own goalkeeper by Inter Milan defender Milan Skriniar, which took the tie to extra-time.But some more poor defending allowed a loose ball to find Duris with 10 minutes of the extra half-hour remaining, and after Bailey Peacock-Farrell allowed his shot to beat him at his near post, Northern Ireland could find no way back as their qualification hopes were extinguished in the play-off final. At the other end, with the experienced Craig Cathcart forced off through injury, Tom Flanagan’s decision to step into midfield left the hosts’ backline exposed. Kucka’s ball towards Duris deflected off Evans’ unwitting backside and into the Slovakia forward, who kept his composure to beat Peacock-Farrell’s weak dive at his near post.Evans nearly made amends with one of the final kicks of the game when Jordan Thompson’s glorious cross found him unmarked six yards out. But just as Rodak kept out his poor header with ease, so too did Slovakia see off any hopes of another late fightback to qualify for only their second European Championships finals.Match factsNorthern Ireland have been defeated in extra-time for the first time in their history.Slovakia have won for the first time in 2020, drawing twice and losing three times since beating Azerbaijan last November.Northern Ireland have lost three consecutive home matches for the first time since September 2011-February 2012.Northern Ireland have kept just one clean sheet in their last 11 matches, at home to Netherlands last November.Juraj Kucka’s opener was his third goal of Slovakia’s EURO 2020 qualification campaign, the joint-most of any player for the side along with Marek Hamsik and Robert Bozenik. It was his first goal for the national side since October 2019 when he netted against Wales.What’s next?Northern Ireland have a Nations League double header against Austria and Romania coming up before the international break concludes, with both live on Sky Sports.Their visit to Austria is live on Sky Sports Football this Sunday from 7.30pm; Kick-off at 7.45pm. Then see them host Romania in their final group game live on Sky Sports Mix next Wednesday from 7.30pm; Kick-off at 7.45pm. Player ratingsNorthern Ireland: Peacock-Farrell (5), Dallas (6), Cathcart (7), Evans (6), Lewis (6), Davis (6), Saville (5), McNair (7), McGinn (6), Magennis (5), Washington (5). – Advertisement – Man of the match: Juraj Kucka Image:Juraj Kucka put Slovakia ahead at Windsor Park before half-time
Charlie Walk, president of Republic Records and Joe Jonas, lead singer of pop band DNCE, spoke at the Carson Television Center at the Thornton School of Music Friday as part of Thornton’s Popular Music Program Founding Director Christopher Sampson’s “Popular Music Forum” to offer advice to music industry students and promote DNCE’s latest project.Walk played a music video clip of DNCE’s most successful single, “Cake by the Ocean” and discussed how to distinguish between a Top 40 hit and a regular hit.“I don’t mean to say this in a cocky way or arrogantly, but we’re not doing classical music we’re doing pop music. ‘Pop’ is a derivative of the word ‘popular,’” Walk said. “I’ve been involved with over 400 number one songs. I know how they started, I know how they broke and every case has been different and there have been casualties along the way, but we’re pretty good at predicting the future.”Jonas offered perspective on the creative process behind his personal successes and failures.“There’s been times in my career and I’m like ‘This is the song, this is the one’ and I play it for somebody and they have a different opinion and tell me to go back to the studio,” Jonas said.Despite the possibility of creative conflict, Jonas highlighted the necessity of trusting your manager as in artist.“And for years, it was really toward the Jonas years, it was us against the world. We thought we knew everything and I think it’s because we’ve been doing it for so long and you sort of get comfortable in your own little world,” he said. “It’s really important to trust your team.”This is something Jonas learned from his experience after his solo debut album, Fastlife, failed to take off in 2011.“I can only speak for my personal experience, having a solo record that didn’t do well. It sold only maybe, a hundred thousand records and that was after a long period of time. That wasn’t really great, compared to what I had with my brothers. It was really screwing with my head, but I had to take a step back,” Jonas said.Jonas reiterated the importance of trusting his team. “Even the smallest things, it’s about trusting Republic and Charlie. I think for a lot of artists, especially new artists, a lot of times, they think they know everything,” Jonas said. “But when you walk into it, you have to take a step back. Obviously your art is very important, but these guys know what they’re doing.”Toward the end of the forum, the duo took questions from students.A student asked Jonas and Walk whether they believed success was defined as just selling out stadiums and millions of records, as mentioned throughout the talk, or if it was more than that. “When I was younger, the term was called ‘selling out,’ Jonas said. “There’s a big question: [Do] you want to create something that obviously you’re really proud of, you can play at a stadium and travel the world, sell millions of records, that’s obviously very exciting” Jonas said. “But there’s also, yeah, if you play at a small club in your hometown and you’re still really proud of your music that’s also really great. It’s whatever you want it to be.”This post was updated at 12:03 a.m. on April 4 for style and grammar.