Northern Ireland Share Spoils With Switzerland In Belfast

Northern Ireland

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Northern Ireland and Switzerland had to settle for a goalless draw at Windsor Park on Wednesday night in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification clash.

A Haris Seferovic penalty miss in the first half was the highlight of the fixture as the sides failed to find a breakthrough on the night.

It was Northern Ireland goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell’s second save in as many qualification games after denying Lithuania a goal from the spot last week.

The on-loan Sheffield Wednesday keeper was the hero on the night for Ian Baraclough’s side as they held on for a draw against the UEFA Euro 2020 quarter-finalists.

Switzerland dominated possession on a night that saw a near-capacity crowd return to the Belfast stadium.

However, the effect of the crowd did help to put pressure on the visitors throughout the match.

Swiss midfielder Fabian Frei picked up an early yellow card and earning himself a suspension after strong pressing from the home team.

Northern Ireland forward Shane Lavery found himself in clean air and looked set to score but could not provide the finishing touch after fashioning space for a shot.

However, Lavery and strike partner Conor Washington, although unable to give their side a goal, looked just as dangerous as they did against Lithuania.

The hosts’ sparkle soon faded as right-back Michael Smith was judged to have brought left winger Ruben Vargas down inside the box and a penalty was given.

However, number nine Haris Seferovic fluffed his lines from 12-yards out and Peacock-Farrell denied Murat Yakin’s Swiss side a goal – they have yet to score in a competitive game (and win a competitive game) under their new manager.

Liverpool full-back Connor Bradley impressed upon his introduction after assisting Shane Ferguson’s winner against Estonia at the weekend.

Baraclough’s Northern Ireland were defensively resilient with a noisy crowd behind them all the way but lacked the end product needed to collect all three points, while Switzerland failed to break them down and will rue a missed penalty.

Both sides will face each other again in the first game of the October international window at the Stade de Geneve in Switzerland on Saturday, October 9.

Northern Ireland (3-5-2): Peacock-Farrell; Ballard, Cathcart, Brown; Smith, McCann, Davis (C), Thompson, Lewis; Washington, Lavery.

Subs: Bradley, Flanagan, Saville, McGinn, Lafferty, Ferguson, Carson, Charles, Jones, White, McCalmont, Hazard.

Switzerland (4-3-3): Sommer (C); Widmer, Akanji, Elvedi, Rodriguez; Freuler, Frei, Zakaria; Vargas, Seferovic, Fassnacht.

Subs: Garcia, Zeqiri, Steffen, Mvogo, Zuber, Sow, Lauper, Lotomba, Aebischer, Kobel, Schar, Zesiger.

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