World Cup Play-Off: Controversial Penalty Puts Switzerland In Driving Seat Against Northern Ireland (Photos & Video)

Alan Duffy

9th, November 2017

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Northern Ireland’s hopes of making it to a World Cup finals for the first time since 1986 were dealt a major blow on Thursday, after losing to Switzerland at Windsor Park courtesy of a controversial penalty.

The Swiss, with Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka and Stoke’s Xherdan Shaqiri in the starting XI, were the better side from the off.

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The one and only goal of the game would come just before the hour-mark, albeit in very contentious circumstances.

Referee Ovidiu Hategan pointed to the spot after Corry Evans blocked a Shaqiri shot with his shoulder, a ridiculously harsh (and definitely incorrect) decision which enraged the home fans.

AC Milan full-back Ricardo Rodriguez converted the resulting spot-kick to put the visitors 1-0 up.

Michael O’Neill’s side pushed for an equaliser, with Josh Magennis going close late on via a headed effort from a Chris Brunt free-kick.

That said, they did end the evening without registering a single shot on target.

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The Swiss also had a number of chances to extend their lead but the game would end in a narrow win for the visitors, a victory which puts them in the driving seat ahead of the second leg.

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The two sides meet again in Basel on Sunday.

Posted in International football, Videos, World Cup

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1 Comment

  1. Jarren says:

    Soft penalty, but I’ve seen worse given.

    We’re gonna have to go to Basel with our balls out, there’s no point going to try and scrape a 1-0 to try and force penalties.

    We need to go there with intent. I don’t care if we lose by a heavy margin, I’d be happier if we got hammered but played with intent rather than just soak up the pressure and end up 0-0 and out anyway.

    No fear. Just do it!

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