Ireland earn draw with Switzerland
Fabian Schar’s neat finish in the 74th minute looked to have Switzerland on course for victory but McGoldrick’s late header was enough to ensure Ireland remain unbeaten but more importantly they sit top, three points ahead of Denmark and six points clear of Switzerland albeit they have played more games than both.
The first meaningful goal scoring opportunity of the match was created by Ireland in the 13thminute as Jeff Hendrick’s quick feet allowed him to release James McClean inside the penalty area.
But after initially slipping as he looked the cut the ball onto his right foot, the Derry man recovered and sent his weak shot straight at goalkeeper Yann Sommer.
Switzerland looked the more dangerous of the two sides as the half wore on but they couldn’t turn it into a crucial opening goal as Ricardo Rodriquez, Granit Xhaka and Denis Zakaria all failed to find the net with their efforts.
Ireland rallied before the break and they spurned decent openings themselves late in the first period with David McGoldrick scuffing Hendrick’s clever pass at the keeper before flashing a dangerous pass across the face of goal when he could have gone for goal directly.
The Swiss regained control after the interval and they threatened to take the lead through Fabian Schar and Haris Seferovic – who both fired wide of the target - before Breel Embolo slipped at the crucial moment when he looked to be through on goal.
The Boys in Green’s resolve was finally broken with 16 minutes remaining as Switzerland took the lead when Fabian Schar slotted the ball into the bottom right corner of the net following some incisive one-touch football.
Glenn Whelan rattled the bar as the game drew to a close but Ireland snatched what could prove to be a vital point when David McGoldrick headed James McClean’s deflected cross into the top right corner.
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Darren Randolph; Seamus Coleman, Richard Keogh, Shane Duffy, Enda Stevens; Glenn Whelan, Jeff Hendrick, Conor Hourihane (Scott Hogan 82), James McClean, Callum Robinson (Alan Judge 58), David McGoldrick (Alan Browne 89).
SWITZERLAND: Yann Sommer, Kevin Mbabu (Edimilson Fernandes 93), Nico Elvedi, Manuel Akanjji, Breel Embolo (Albian Ajeti 86), Remo Freuler (Admir Mehmedi 90), Haris Seferovic, Granit Xhaka, Ricardo Rodriguez, Denis Zakaria, Fabian Schar.
Referee: Carlos Del Cerro Grande (Spain).