Mick McCarthy’s Ireland side showed character in abundance to salvage a draw against Switzerland at the Aviva Stadium on Thursday.
The Swiss side dominated for long stretches of the second half and looked to have taken all three points when Fabian Schar stroked home following a lovely intricate move.
However, Ireland refused to wilt and seemed to go up a gear after falling behind. They were eventually rewarded in the 85th minute when David McGoldrick headed home to give the Boys in Green a share of the spoils that keeps them atop Group D.
Following the game, Swiss coach Vladimir Petkovic lamented his side’s lack of concentration after dropping two points while also claiming that McGoldrick was offside for Ireland’s late equaliser.
“Maybe there was an offside in the build-up to their goal,” the Swiss manager said.
“But we need to concentrate for 90 minutes. It was two points dropped. If we win, we are nearly 50 per cent there. But we know if we can get another four points, it should be okay.
Petkovic also seemed relaxed about the prospect of facing Ireland again when the two sides play each other in Geneva next month. He also bemoaned his team’s sloppiness in the final third.
“Ireland still need to come to Switzerland to win. We know there are no easy opponents but we are still on track to qualify,” he said.
“The way we conceded was not necessarily similar to those other games, we were more compact this time and we just need not to be pushed back in our own half.
“It wasn’t a deserved draw after we gave away the lead. It was a positive performance, we dominated the game. But, in the first half, we committed a few errors, we slipped a few times when we were in on goal.
“We had chances but couldn’t get the final pass. We had a lot of possession and a lot of shots and there was not much missing. Ireland started pressing high after 30 minutes.
“After we went one-nil up, we pressed high but Ireland scored the goal when we were in possession.”
Arsenal and Switzerland midfielder Granit Xhaka also said his team were the better side on the night.
— RTÉ Sport (@RTEsport) September 6, 2019