Haris Seferovic and Edimilson Fernandes both scored to deal a massive blow to the Republic of Ireland’s Euro 2020 qualifying hopes as Switzerland edged past the Republic of Ireland 2-0 in UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying on Tuesday evening.
The Benfica man gave the hosts the lead just after the quarter of an hour mark as he blasted home a low shot from outside of the penalty area. The Swiss were by far the most creative throughout the game and looked like they were going to put a seal on their win late on as a Seamus Coleman handball saw them awarded a spot-kick. However, Ricardo Rodriguez could not beat Darren Randolph.
The Swiss did eventually get their second right at the death as Fernandes found plenty of room at the far post and swept the ball into the net, albeit via a massive deflection off of Shane Duffy.
Swiss enjoy positive start
In a match that was initially in doubt due to severely testing conditions, the hosts started the better as Granit Xhaka tested Randolph with a powerful, low effort.
The Middlesbrough stopper could not do anything as Switzerland opened the scoring though. Seferovic lined up his target from the edge of the area and with assistance from the greasy pitch, the ball skimmed into the bottom corner.
Newcastle man Fabian Schar then could have doubled the lead but curled a brilliant shot just wide. Seferovic then could also have doubled his night’s work as he did well to control the ball on his chest in the box but fired some way over the crossbar.
Hosts continue to be the better side
The Benfica striker continued to be the hosts’ most dangerous weapon throughout the game. It took a wonderful reaction save from Randolph to once again deny the forward as he leapt from a free-kick and headed powerfully towards the top corner.
Chances continued to come for the hosts and Schar again went close as he connected with Rodriguez’s corner, only to see his headed effort bounce back off of the upright.
Coleman sees red yet again
Despite their chances, Vladimir Petković’s men looked to have been given a huge helping hand – in the literal sense. With the ball falling to Breel Embolo at the back post, the striker struck towards goal, only for the ball to slam into the arm of Seamus Coleman. Having already been cautioned in the first-half, the Everton man was given his marching orders and a penalty awarded. Thankfully for the Irish, they were not made to suffer any more as Randolph leapt across his line to halt Rodriguez’s kick.
The match was eventually rubber stamped as with the visitors committing men forwards in an effort to get back into the game, they were caught cold at the break. Former West Ham United midfielder Fernandes collected the ball at the far post and then attempted a cool finish. Duffy tried his hardest to get a block in but was left scrambling as the ball ricocheted off of him and then into the back of the net.
The result in Geneva was probably a fair one on reflection. The hosts were by far the more impressive of the two teams. Dangerous in attack whilst remaining resolute defensively, they put on a highly impressive showing. The only blot on their copy book could potentially be that they weren’t quite able to find the net more.
Mick McCarthy will be severely disappointed that the group has now opened up. The solace that he has though is that they still sit top of their qualifying group ahead of a huge game against Denmark next time.
Switzerland: Sommer (7); Elvedi (6), Akanji (6), Schar (7); Rodriguez (7), Xhaka (6), Zakaria (6), Lichtsteiner (6) (Freuler (6), 70′); Mehmedi (6) (Fernandes (7), 28′), Seferovic (7), Embolo (7) (Steffen (N/A), 88′).
Republic of Ireland: Randolph (7); Stevens (6), Egan (5), Duffy (6), Coleman (5); Browne (6), Whelan (5), Hendrick (6); McClean (6), Collins (5) (O’Dowda (5), 46′), Connolly (5) (Hogan (5), 70′).
Goals: Seferovic (16′), Fernandes (90+3′)
Referee: Szymon Marciniak
Yellow Cards: Coleman (32′, 76′), Xhaka (32′), Browne (34′), Akanji (46′), Hendrick (55′), Duffy (66′)
Red Cards: Coleman (76′)