MX23RW : Saturday, August 18 10:01:41

Granit Xhaka tells Northern Ireland fans to stop complaining

Granit Xhaka claims that referee Ovidiu Hategan's contentious decision to point to the spot for Switzerland's win over Northern Ireland 'is not such a big topic'.

Switzerland midfielder Granit Xhaka has insisted that his side were worthy of their first-leg victory over Northern Ireland, despite the contentious penalty decision.

The big talking point from Thursday night's match at Windsor Park was referee Ovidiu Hategan's decision to point to the spot when the ball struck the back of Corry Evans's shoulder inside the box.

Arsenal ace Xhaka is unhappy with all the talk of Northern Ireland being hard done by, however, and says that it is time for their supporters to now move on ahead of Sunday's return fixture in the World Cup qualifying playoff.

"I don't know why it is such a big topic and why there is so much discussion about it," he told reporters. "We should leave this discussion apart. To discuss whether it was a penalty or not, it's not interesting for us and in the end it was a decision by the referee.

"I think that we were the better team in the first leg and we want to show that again tomorrow and qualify for Russia tomorrow night. We are a good team, I think we are a better team than Northern Ireland, and tomorrow with all the fans and all the support we have here, we want to make them proud and we want to qualify for Russia.

"We were mentally and physically at a very high level in the first leg and we have to show that same attitude again tomorrow. I know we can maybe play a little bit better and this maybe is the key for tomorrow."

Ricardo Rodriguez's penalty was the only goal of the game in Belfast, leaving Michael O'Neill's side with a big mountain to climb.

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Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards 2015.
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