Kyle Lafferty was unable to prevent Northern Ireland slipping to a 1-0 defeat to Poland in their Euro 2016 Group C opener in Nice.
Here, News Letter Sport takes a look at the Norwich striker’s contribution at The Allianz Riviera.
Given the thankless task of playing as a lone striker, Lafferty had to be the first line of defence and work hard to help his team gain possession. When he had the ball his role was to hold it up and wait for support, but that rarely happened as he too often found himself isolated.
Unfortunately Northern Ireland’s performance was a shadow of those which got them to France in the first place and Lafferty had to feed off scraps. Any chance he was going to get had to be created by himself and he was confident enough to try a overhead-kick from outside the penalty area, which was only a little too high.
He worked selflessly for the team with his running of the channels and chasing lost causes. Occasionally managed to get his body between the Polish defenders and the ball and bring the Northern Ireland midfielders in to play, but more often than not that support was lacking.
Worked tirelessly up front on his own, but was too isolated to make a meaningful impact. Too often did he win headers and then have to chase down his own flick on. His confidence was not affected, though, illustrated by that ambitious overhead-kick attempt in the second half.