Rangers midfielder Steven Davis limped through the final stages of a Euro 2020 playoff final on Thursday night as Northern Ireland lost 2-1 to Slovakia after extra time.

Davis skippered his country in the high-profile fixture in Belfast, with a spot at a major tournament up for grabs.

Northern Ireland v Slovakia - UEFA EURO 2020 Play-Off Finals

A limited number of Northern Ireland supporters were allowed in for the winner-take-all fixture. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

However, it wasn’t to be for the hosts, despite the best efforts of the players and the 1060 supporters inside Windsor Park.

A mix up between George Saville and Jonny Evans allowed the Juraj Kucka to sprint clear and open the scoring in the 17th minute, and for a long time, it looked as though that would be enough for the visitors.

Northern Ireland’s never say die attitude has continued into the Ian Baraclough era, though, and they pushed relentlessly for an equaliser in the second half.


It finally came in the 87th minute via an own goal from Milan Škirniar following a Paddy McNair cross, before former Gers striker, Kyle Lafferty, came within a whisker of winning the game, hitting the post with an effort from the edge of the area.

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Northern Ireland v Slovakia - UEFA EURO2020 Qualifying Play-Off Final

Kyle Lafferty made a big impact off the bench. (Photo By David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Extra time followed and after a relatively uneventful first period, a rash piece of defending from substitute, Tom Flanagan, gave Slovakia an opening and Michal Duris fired beyond keeper, Bailey Peacock-Farrell, at his near post.

NI had 10 minutes to try to find a second equaliser, but despite bombarding the opposition box with long balls, they couldn’t force a way through.

Steven Davis slipped when launching a free-kick in the closing stages and battled what appeared to be severe cramp thereafter.

Northern Ireland v Slovakia - UEFA EURO 2020 Play-Off Finals

Rangers star Steven Davis missed out what would have been his second major tournament with Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

He still did his best to join in the final attacks but it was a step too far for the hobbling Gers maestro and his teammates, who cut disconsolate figures on the pitch following the final whistle.

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