|World Cup Qualifer|
|Switzerland||2||-||0||Republic of Ireland|
|Martina Moses 55, Lara Dickmann 64 pen|
|Saturday, 19 September 2009||Switzerland|
Switzerland defeat Ireland in opening World Cup qualifier
The Republic of Ireland kicked-off their group 6, World Cup qualifying campaign of to an unfortunate start on Saturday when they were defeated 2-0 by Switzerland in Wohlen.
The score-line was flattering to the hosts who took the lead in the 55th minute when Martina Moses capitalised on a loose ball in the Irish half, raced through on goal as she slotted the ball past keeper, Emma Byrne. Switzerland doubled their lead from the spot in the 64th minute when Swiss captain, Lara Dickmann converted her spot-kick following a controversial penalty decision from the Dutch match official.
In a blistering start to the game, the Swiss immediately applied pressure on the Irish in every area of the field. As both sides edged on the side of caution, the first real chance only arrived in the 10th minute when a Niamh Fahey free-kick from 40 yards was half cleared to Michele O'Brien at the edge of the Swiss box but her shot was comfortably saved by Rahel Graf in Switzerland's goal.
Irish keeper, Emma Byrne had a busy first half and she was first called into action after 16 minutes when Umea IK midfielder, Ramona Bachman collected the ball on the left wing, she cut inside Mary Therese McDonnell but Byrne was on hand to save her powerful shot.
Arsenal's Niamh Fahey was rock solid in Ireland's defence as Switzerland turned the screw in the Irish third and in the 21st minute she came to Ireland's rescue when a long ball from defence dropped right into the Irish box and Fahey put her head on the ball just as Ramona Bachman was about to unleash a powerful shot towards the Irish goal.
Switzerland should have been ahead after 36 when another long ball caught out the Irish defence and Ana Maria Crnogorcevic snatched at her effort as the ball went well wide of Emma Byrne's goal.
Stefanie Curtis almost scored the opening goal in the 40th minute against the run of play when the referee awarded Ireland a free kick-kick when Aine O'Gorman was tripped on the edge of the box and from the resulting free-kick, the Chelsea midfielders powerful effort was tipped over the bar for a corner.
Irish keeper, Emma Byrne kept the sides scoreless at half time when Sandy Maendly ran onto a through ball from the Swiss midfield and with only the keeper to beat, her effort was palmed away by Byrne and her rebound was hammered well over the bar.
Ireland started the second half brightly and they should have took the lead after two minutes when a Stefanie Curtis corner was headed onto the crossbar by Niamh Fahey. In the 53rd minute, Byrne was once again on-hand to deny the Swiss with a brilliant save from a Bachmann volley from 10 yards out.
Two minutes later, the Swiss took the lead when a pass by Irish captain, Ciara Grant was intercepted by Martina Moses and the midfielder ran straight through on goal and buried the ball beyond Byrne into the top right-hand corner.
Ireland responded strongly and in the 61st minute, the Irish carved out a real chance of an equaliser when Fiona O'Sullivan controlled the ball beautifully in the Swiss half and linked up with Aine O'Gorman who played Sullivan through on goal with a neat one-two but Sullivan hit it wide from a difficult angle.
The Swiss doubled their lead in dubious circumstances in the 64th minute. As Ireland cleared a ball from the penalty area, the Dutch official, Christine Beck, who was also referee for Ireland's ill-fated 2nd leg defeat to Iceland in the EURO 2009 play-off awarded the home side a penalty as she adjudged Meabh de Burcha to have fouled Bachmann in the box. Emma Byrne saved the resulting spot-kick from captain, Lara Dickmann but the official ordered a re-take as she deemed that the Irish players encroached the penalty area before the ball was struck. Dickmann stood up and she made no mistake with her second effort putting the ball into the top left-hand corner.
Switzerland held on to win the game 2-0 as the Irish poured forward in search of goals and manager, Noel King lost Stefanie Curtis in the 87th minute when she was forced to leave the pitch with an injury.
Speaking after the game, Irish manager, Noel King said, "Obviously I am disappointed with the result but I am really pleased with the team's performance today. To come away from home and create eleven chances is impressive at any level and it is unfortunate that we gifted them both goals. We came to Switzerland to have a proper go at them and I cannot fault the players for their effort. Let's not forget that the Switzerland national side have been professional for over three years and to match them in every area of the field was most encouraging.
In five days time we take on Kazakhstan in Turners Cross in Cork. This is a massive game for our World Cup ambitions and we will be looking for a positive result before we travel to Russia and Kazakhstan in October," said King.
Republic of Ireland: mma Byrne, Mary-Therese McDonnell, Meabh de Burca, Niamh Fahey, Yvonne Tracy, Jemma Connor, Ciara Grant, Michele O'Brien, Aine O'Gorman, Fiona O'Sullivan, Stefanie Curtis.
Substitutes: Sonya Hughes (on for Marie Therese McDonnell, 78 mins), Marie Curtin, Shannon McDonnell (on for Jemma Connor,78 mins), Alisha Moran, Lynn Bradley, Stephanie Roche (on for Stefanie Curtis, 87 mins), Diane Caldwell
|Referee: Christine Beck (Netherlands).|
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