Northern Ireland fume as controversial penalty decision hands advantage to the Swiss

Henrietta Brewer
November 10, 2017

Michael O'Neill's men are still in with a chance of reaching Russian Federation next summer, but an extremely poor piece of officiating might just prove to be costly.

Jonny Evans insists Northern Ireland can feel more aggrieved about Switzerland's controversial penalty than the Republic did after Thierry Henry's handball in 2010.

Shaqiri said he was unsure about the penalty, but was confident Switzerland's victory was well deserved.

"It's odd because I had a feeling the referee knew that he had made a wrong decision and I'm sure he was getting feed information throughout the game and he could tell with everybody else's reaction that maybe he had made the wrong call".

"We are kind of in a situation where. we are a little bit of a victim and we've got nothing to lose", O'Neill said.

"I think we controlled the game for 90 minutes and we had a lot of ball possession and created a lot of chances too, it was only a matter of time until we scored". Windsor was silenced and the Northern Ireland players incensed.

But O'Neill raged at the decision, saying he did not understand how the referee could award the spot kick.

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill was also angry and bemoaned the lack of a video referee, one day before VAR is used in an official game in the United Kingdom for the first time when England face Germany. "Corry's arm isn't in an unnatural position, it's by his side". 'But equally they've done everything so far and I think they will do everything in the next two games to make it a reality. "Nobody had claimed for it".

"I thought the players' reaction to it was very good", said O'Neill. "There's anger in the dressing room in there".

The Swiss quickly got stuck in when Fabian Schaer was booked in the fifth minute for a wild late challenge on Stuart Dallas which O'Neill said should have been red.

Switzerland also finished second in its group, finishing with nine wins in 10 games. In the end the referee gave the penalty and that is football.

But the visitors quickly found their rhythm.

While Switzerland are tournament regulars, Northern Ireland are desperate to return to the world stage and boss O'Neill is aware of the tie's magnitude.

Within seconds of the restart Shaqiri came close to breaking the deadlock with a curling left-footed effort that whistled just over and Seferovic was inches away from getting his boot to a cross.

Evans will be suspended for the second leg as a outcome of his booking over the penalty incident.

Northern Ireland, who posed a threat from set-pieces, had a good chance to equalise when Josh Magennis connected with a free-kick from Chris Brunt but he steered his header wide.

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