Home » Shaqiri secures Switzerland success over Ireland

Shaqiri secures Switzerland success over Ireland

Shaqiri secures Switzerland success over Ireland

The Republic of Ireland were unable to repeat their impressive performance at the weekend as they suffered another defeat, losing to Switzerland at the Aviva Stadium.

John O’Shea’s side were unable to fight back from Xherdan Shaqiri’s first-half strike as the visitors held on for a narrow win in this friendly international.

It brings to end the interim manager’s allotted time in charge of the team, with the FAI set to announce Stephen Kenny’s permanent replacement next month.

But there were positive vibes from at the start of this contest as the home side created three solid attacking moves inside the opening six minutes, with the best of them leading to a free just outside the box after Jason Knight skipped down the right flank.

It signalled their intent, as they played out from the back, but were also happy to pump hopeful balls into space or aimed at the attack.

No chances inside those opening exchanges, however, and it was the Swiss who came closest to threatening in the 10th minute as the ball was sprayed wide to Dan Ndoye on the left, and the Bologna forward set off on a searching run across the edge of the box before striking a low effort goalwards.

Nathan Collins blocked its path to goal, and while Silvan Widmer met it at the back post, his looping header was cleared by Andrew Omobamidele.

That chance instilled confidence in the visitors’ loaded attack and five minutes later, another crossfield ball to the touchline led to the first chance on target as Vincent Sierro tried one from 25 yards; it was easy for Gavin Bazunu, who was right behind it.

In the 17th minute, another good Ireland press led to keeper Yvon Mvogo playing a hurried pass out of his box, which allowed the advanced Omobamidele to work it to Mikey Johnston, but again the Ireland possession counted for little.

Sammie Szmodics and Knight did link up well moments later, playing though the Swiss lines, but Seamus Coleman had just strayed offside.

In the 22nd minute, Zeki Amdouni skipped across the edge of the box and went down, despite Dara O’Shea’s lunge not making contact.

The Ireland defenders were irate with the Burnley man, however, the referee felt there was enough to warrant the free and it set the Swiss up with a perfect opportunity to bring out a set-piece routine.

Xherdan Shaqiri’s free-kick prowess proved the difference between the two sides at the Aviva

And it led to the opening goal, as Shaqiri curled a sweet free-kick into the far corner, with Bazunu perhaps paying a bit too much attention to the other side, as he was beaten at the side he should have been covering.

Finally, Ireland got to test the keeper from a 37th-minute set-piece, which made its way to Dara O’Shea at the back post.

The Burnley man found fellow defender Omobamidele as he worked it back across the face, however, the follow-up header on target lacked pace and was too close to Mvogo to threaten.

Ferguson got his head to a corner moments later, but just as he made contact, he got clattered from behind by Omobamidele and the ball flew wide.

Five minutes before the break, Switzerland hit the post with a smart Granit Xhaka snapshot from outside the box, almost capitalising on a poor Ireland clearance.

Johnston then missed a great chance to equalise before the break after Knight’s clipped cross from the right byline found its way to the West Brom man arriving at the back post.

It was effectively a free header for Johnston, who sent it back beyond the post, with Widmer doing just enough to put him off at contact.

Josh Cullen was next to try his luck as he came onto a pull-back as Ireland again had joy attacking from the right flank, but it was the Swiss who led at the whistle.

No Irish subs at the break, and no well-worked routine from the restart, however, Swiss captain Xhaka did make well for Bologna veteran midfielder Remo Freuler.

As the second half progressed, Ireland were enjoying the lion’s share of possession, with Switzerland happy to sit behind the ball; the home side, however, unable to work the ball into the final third.

O’Shea made a triple substitution in the 57th minute, as Matt Doherty replaced Omobamidele, who may have been carrying a knock, as Coleman slotted into the three. Will Smallbone and Adam Idah came on for Knight and Johnston.

There was an urgency to the Ireland play now as Doherty looked to drive up the right, with Szmodics sent to the other flank to look to kickstart that side of the pitch, which had seen little action thus far from an Irish perspective.

And in the 66th minute a great chance presented itself as Doherty did well to head a deep cross back across the face of goal.

Adam Idah attempts the spectacular against Switzerland

With his back to goal, Idah attempted an extravagant bicycle kick, however, the ball sliced off his boot and went wide.

Two minutes later, Idah won a header from a corner and while there was a shout for a penalty, the ball had cannoned off the back of Freuler with no hands involved.

Switzerland were gradually driven deeper, as Ireland pushed and probed, but O’Shea’s side were getting scant reward inside the final third as they lacked that creative touch.

Idah’s presence up top was, however, causing the Swiss concern and a charging run through the middle with 10 minutes remaining led to a fine solo effort, but his blasted effort could not stay below the bar.

Callum O’Dowda and Mark Sykes had been added by that stage as O’Shea gave another injection into the attack, while Finn Azaz came on for his debut in the 87th minute.

And the Middlesbrough man almost made an immediate impact as he took the ball to the edge of the penalty area with his first touch from a dropping ball.

For a moment, it looked like the shot at goal was on, but he opted to pass, and a corner was the best Ireland could muster.

Into the final minutes and while the home side maintained the pressure, roared on by the crowd who found their voice late on, again the quality was lacking, and the direct approach added to the excitement but not the chances – Doherty’s run inside from the right the best Ireland could manage but his shot was blocked.

Three minutes of added time, but it was the Swiss who could have wrapped it up with a burst out of their own half with Ireland committed up the pitch.

Dara O’Shea’s pace thwarted the counter-attack but time ran out for O’Shea’s side, and perhaps his time in charge of the national team.

Ireland XI: Gavin Bazunu; Nathan Collins, Dara O’Shea, Andrew Omobamidele (Matt Doherty 57), Seamus Coleman (capt), Robbie Brady (Callum O’Dowda 79); Josh Cullen, Jason Knight (Will Smallbone 57); Sammie Szmodics (Mark Sykes 79), Mikey Johnston (Adam Idah 57), Evan Ferguson

Switzerland: Yvon Mvogo; Nico Elvedi, Fabian Schar (Becir Omeragic 79), Silvan Widmer (Kevin Mbabu 65); Eray Comert, Vincent Sierro (Denis Zakaria 65), Michel Aebischer, Granit Xhaka (Remo Freuler HT), Xherdan Shaqiri (Noah Okafor 76); Zeki Amdouni, Dan Ndoye (Derek Kutesa 65)

Referee: Paweł Raczkowski (POL)

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