Evans 'gutted' after 'disgraceful' penalty in Northern Ireland defeat

Evans 'gutted' after 'disgraceful' penalty in Northern Ireland defeat

MICHAEL O'NEILL has told Northern Ireland to seize their moment and have no regrets as they prepare to face Switzerland for a place at the World Cup.

"We are still in the tie, we are only 1-0 down and maybe we will get the good fortune of having a referee who will give us a decision like that in the second leg".

Stoke City winger Shaqiri sought to sound a diplomatic tone when asked about the penalty decision but insisted Switzerland were good value for their victory overall.

But O'Neill raged at the decision, saying he did not understand how the referee could award the spot kick. I thought the referee had blown for a foul or an offside. "I tried to have a shot on goal and I don't know if he touched with his hand or not". "I expect the game in Basel to be like this one, but we need to move forward faster and try more shots from long range".

"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".

Video assistance would have clarified both incidents and O'Neill was left bemoaning the absence of VAR a day before one is trialled for the first time in an official game in the United Kingdom when England face Germany. "Nobody had claimed for it".

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After the match O'Neill found it hard to hold back his displeasure with the officials, not only for that call but also for not sending off Fabian Schar for a reckless challenge on Stuart Dallas early in the match. It is a very clear red card for me.

"There's anger in the dressing room".

"These things happen and I just have to get on with it".

The Swiss, edged out by Portugal on goal difference in their qualifying group, have now won 10 out of 11 games in their campaign for a place at next year's World Cup in Russian Federation. "The referee gave the penalty and that's football". Corry Evans did well to block Xherdan Shaqiri's acrobatic effort, the ball bouncing off his shoulder as he stood just inside the 18-yard box. Granit Xhaka had a couple of chances before Haris Seferovic latched onto the end of a fine cross from the impressive Shaqiri but McGovern saved smartly.

AC Milan's Ricardo Rodriguez dispatched the penalty to give the Swiss a crucial away goal and a slender lead in the play-off ahead of the second leg in Basel.

After finishing second in the group behind Germany, Northern Ireland will look to pull off an upset against the Swiss to reach Russian Federation.

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