Author Topic: A tie defined by a refereeing controversy  (Read 79 times)


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A tie defined by a refereeing controversy
« on: November 14, 2017, 08:56:41 AM »
The tie was decided by Ricardo Rodriguez's controversial penalty in Belfast as Michael O'Neill's team failed in their bid to reach back-to-back major tournaments for the first time.Northern Ireland came within inches of forcing extra time in injury time at the end of the tie, only for West Brom defender Jonny Evans to see his header hacked off the line by Rodriguez.

Both sides wasted chances to score in a nervy contest at a rain-soaked St Jakob-Park, with Switzerland striker Haris Seferovic particularly guilty following a string of missed attempts.O'Neill's team failed to register a shot on target at Windsor Park in the first leg, but this was a far more adventurous display and, after several near misses from Chris Brunt in the first half, they were almost rewarded late on - only for Evans to be denied.

The result secures Switzerland a place in Russia - their fourth consecutive World Cup - and means Northern Ireland's hopes of a fourth finals appearance are over.Northern Ireland's increased attacking intent in Basel came from their need to score to cancel out the Rodriguez penalty in the first leg, given for handball by Corry Evans when the ball clearly struck the midfielder on the back.
That decision angered O'Neill and his players and the manager asked them to channel that ill-feeling to ensure it was not a moment they lived to regret.They did that with an energetic and determined performance.
But against a Swiss side who had only lost at St Jakob-Park to England in 17 matches spanning 16 years, they were always up against it and, in truth, might have been out of the tie much earlier had Seferovic been more composed in front of goal."We've gone out to a Marcus Cooper Womens Jersey really poor decision in the first leg," said O'Neill. "We tried to keep the dream Marcus Cooper Womens Jersey alive and we were pushing for it.
"The referee was very poor in the first leg - got the red card [decision not to send off Fabian Schar for a late tackle on Stuart Marcus Cooper Womens Jersey Dallas] wrong and the penalty wrong. It's a very sore way to lose. We deserved extra time."There's a devastated group of players in there but I couldn't be more proud of them."After a slow start to his Northern Ireland reign, O'Neill defied the odds to guide his side to the last 16 of Euro 2016.
The 48-year-old signed a four-year contract that same year but, following this latest setback, the team could suffer another blow as their manager has been heavily linked with other jobs.He has Marcus Cooper Womens Jersey been discussed as a contender for the vacant Scotland and Sunderland posts, and offers are likely to come his way with his stock so high.It could also have been a final Northern Ireland bow for several players, including veteran defenders Aaron Hughes and Gareth McAuley.
Hughes made his 109th international appearance in Basel, making him the most-capped defender from the home nations."I said to the players that they've got decisions to make on their futures," said O'Neill. "But I've told them not to rush any decisions.