Celtic goalkeeper Conor Hazard had a difficult game against a decent USA side, as Northern Ireland fell 2-1 to the USMNT.
Goals from Gio Reyna (yes, son of that Reyna) and a Pulisic penalty saw off the NI side. Former Celtic man Niall McGinn pulled a goal back for Ian Baraclough’s men. Ultimately, though, the USA’s quality showed against a struggling Northern Irish team.
Hazard was powerless to concede the first goal, with Reyna’s speculative effort taking a massive deflection. The ball was lofted over Hazard’s head, who could do nothing to prevent it going in. Borussia Dortmund’s Gio Reyna is a hotly-tipped prospect, having played 24 Bundesliga matches for BVB this season.
The second was perhaps more preventable. Christian Pulisic’s penalty looked pretty soft, and it appeared Hazard could easily have got a hand to it. Caught Offside called it “one of the worst penalties you’ll see”.
— Billy Heyen (@BillyHeyen) March 28, 2021
Hazard did make some good saves, though. As the BBC reported:
“[Hazard made] a good block from Daryl Dike before denying the same player two minutes later with a good save at his near post – an area in which regular keeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell has struggled of late.
For Conor Hazard, Northern Ireland ‘keeper, a weird 20-21 continues
It’s been a strange year for Conor Hazard.
Last season he was on loan at Dundee. This season, Hazard has managed seven Celtic appearances, keeping four clean sheets [Transfermarkt]. He was vaulted into the spotlight due to the struggles of Vasilis Barkas and Scott Bain, but was dropped just as quickly as he was picked. He’s also helped Celtic achieve a Quadruple Treble.
This mixed return to the Northern Ireland team will have done his career a boost, though. Really, hyperbole aside, the giant shot-stopper looked comfortable at international level. Leaving aside the strange indecision from Pulisic’s spot-kick, it’ll have been a good outing for the ‘keeper’s confidence in the long-term.