Football | Seferovic strike sinks Ireland in Geneva

Haris Seferovic’s fine strike has condemned the Republic of Ireland to a 2-0 defeat in Geneva.

The Switzerland striker scored his eighth goal in as many home games for his country to move Switzerland to within a point of Ireland in Group D.

Switzerland doubled their lead in second half stoppage time through Edmilson Fernandez, whose strike was deflected into his own net by Shane Duffy.

Darren Randolph also saved a second half penalty from Ricardo Rodriguez after Seamus Coleman was shown a second yellow for handling the ball in the box.

The Boys in Green will now need to beat familiar foes Denmark in Dublin in their final Group D clash to secure automatic qualification for Euro 2020.

Mick McCarthy made three changes from the drab scoreless stalemate in Tbilisi, with Ends Stevens, Alan Browne and Aaron Connolly coming in to the team for Matt Doherty, Conor Hourihane and Callum Robinson.

Unsurprisingly, the hosts dominates possession and created the better chances in the opening 45 minutes.

In the sixth minute, Granit Xhaka forced Darren Randolph into a good save from distance with a powerful effort after Alan Browne was robbed in possession.

Five minutes later, Jeff Hendrick headed Ireland’s first corner – taken by Glenn Whelan – well wide.

Switzerland’s pressure paid off in the 16th minute, and it was a goal of real quality which gave them the lead.

Seferovic found the bottom corner with a clinical low strike from 20 yards, leaving the diving Randolph with no chance.

The hosts contUnited to threaten without carving out too many clear cut chances.

Captain Stephen Lichtsteiner drove a speculative shot narrowly wide on the half hour mark, before Stevens fired horribly high and wide from distance at the other end.

Xhaka and Coleman were then booked for a coming together; a needless yellow which would later prove costly for the Irish captain.

Fabian Schar curled a left-footed effort from distance wide following James McClean’ poor clearance in the 37th minute.

Ireland’s best opportunity of the half came in stoppage time, but James Collins could only scuff a low shot at Yann Sommer after Browne’s clever through ball.

Switzerland ended the half with 64% possession, with the visitors looking uncomfortable and unimaginative in possession.

Callum O’Dowda replaced Collins at the interval as McCarthy’s men searched for a route back into the game.

The Boys in Green made a bright start to the second half, putting together some nice moves in the final third and delivering some dangerous crosses into the box.

Browne and Hendrick were growing into the game, and Coleman was finding space to get forward down the right.

On the hour mark, John Egan showed good control to trap Coleman’s fizzed pass, before turning on the edge of the box and flashing a chance wide.

At the other end, Schar rose highest to meet a header only to see his effort come back off the outside of the post.

Scott Hogan replaced Connolly with just over 20 minutes remaining.

Switzerland had a chance to kill the game when they were awarded a penalty 12 minutes from time.

Coleman was given his marching orders for blocking Embolo’s effort with his hand, but Randolph made a superb save to deny Rodriguez from 12 yards.

Ireland pushed for a leveller without creating any noteworthy chances, but it was the Swiss who registered the game’s second goal in the dying seconds.

Duffy took a wild swing at Fernandes’ strike, which was going wide, sending the ball into his own net.

Zero goals in 180 minutes highlights Ireland’s lack of creativity and penetration in the final third once again. 

Bring on Denmark on November 18th.