Nov 9, 2017 at 7.45pm UK at ​Windsor Park
Attendance: 18,269
Northern Ireland
0-1
SwitzerlandSwitzerland

Evans (57')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Rodriguez (58' pen.)
Schar (5')

Michael O'Neill "staggered" by controversial penalty decision

O'Neill
© Getty Images
Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill admits that he is "staggered" by the decision to award Switzerland a penalty in their World Cup playoff first leg.

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill has declared himself "staggered" by the decision to award Switzerland a penalty in their World Cup playoff first leg on Thursday night.

Ricardo Rodriguez scored with a penalty just before the hour mark after Corry Evans was deemed to have handled inside the area, although the ball appeared to hit the defender on the shoulder.

Switzerland went on to win 1-0 at Windsor Park following Ovidiu Hategan's contentious call, and the result leaves Northern Ireland facing an uphill struggle to reach a first World Cup since 1986.

"The referee has no-one in his line of sight," O'Neill told BBC Sport. "Corry's arm isn't in an unnatural position, it's by his side. The ball hits him on the back more than anything. I thought the referee had blown for a foul or an offside. Nobody had claimed for it.

"I'm staggered by the decision, staggered by the yellow card. It's such a defining moment in the match. The opening tackle by Fabian Schar was borderline. I thought it was a red card. The referee hasn't done us any favours.

"We have to forget about it. I thought the players' reaction to it was very good. We played much better in the second half, the game was even. We are still in the tie. Maybe a referee will give us a decision in the second leg.

"I'll have to pick the players up. There's anger in the dressing room. We're going to have to find a way to get a goal back. Stuart Dallas's injury is a blow. I thought the players who came on did well. We might look to freshen the team up on Sunday. We have to channel the anger."

Northern Ireland are aiming to take part in back-to-back major tournaments for the first time, having played at Euro 2016 in France.

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri in action during the Euro 2016 match against Romania on June 15, 2016
Read Next:
Shaqiri confident of World Cup place
>
You May Like
Recomended from Sports Mole



Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City1211104073334
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd128222762126
3Chelsea1281323101325
4Tottenham HotspurSpurs127232091123
5Liverpool126422417722
6Arsenal127142216622
7Burnley12642129322
8Watford125341921-218
9Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton124441313016
10Huddersfield TownHuddersfield12435817-915
11Newcastle UnitedNewcastle124261114-314
12Leicester CityLeicester123451618-213
13Bournemouth124171114-313
14Southampton12345914-513
15Stoke CityStoke123451524-913
16Everton123361224-1212
17West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom12246918-910
18West Ham UnitedWest Ham122371125-149
19Swansea CitySwansea12228715-88
20Crystal Palace12129624-185
LIVE SCORES VIDEPRINTER
expand