Late McGolrdick header keeps Ireland’s Euro 2020 hopes very much alive

A superb late header from David McGoldrick kept Ireland’s hopes of qualifying for UEFA Euro 2020 very much alive.

It was a game which generally lacked quality but there was no lack of endeavor from either side.

The Swiss goal coming after 74 minutes was indeed a moment of high quality though. Five neat, one touch passes played Schär in and the centre-half finished with composure first time to the corner of the net from 15 yards out.

The Irish starting XI was as expected for this match on a chilly but pleasant night in Ballsbridge.

The unusual sight of smoke around the stadium to start the game.

Robinson puts pressure on Akanji who concedes a poor corner inside the first minute but it comes to nothing.

Switzerland dominate possession but create nothing in the first five minutes.

The game being played very much in Ireland’s half with a ball played across Ireland’s six yard box beating Duffy in the air but Mbolo took a poor first touch which allowed Duffy to clear.

Zakaria consistently being given far too much space through the middle.

On 10 minutes Keogh swipes at a clearance, hacking it over the crossbar and the resulting from AC Milan’s Rogdriguez has far too much air on it.

Ireland create the first chance of note of the match with Hendrick bursting through the middle 35 yards from goal and finding McClean in the box who is well tackled. The ball falls to the Derry man again who can’t generate much power with his left foot and the shot is quite comfortably saved by Sommer.

The first yellow card is given to Enda Stevens for a high boot on Mbabu on 13 minutes. The Sheffield United man will now miss Ireland’s next game.

McGoldrick is punished for a very slight push on Elvedi when it appeared the pair had come shoulder-to-shoulder some 30 yards from goal when McGoldrick looked to have been in on goal with the defender on the ground.

I wonder if the grass is longer than thought because balls seem to be holding up, especially when going back to the goalkeepers.

Ireland have to absorb considerable pressure with Duffy making a fantastic last ditch tackle to deny Seferovic before Keogh heads a cross into the six-yard box clear and Randolph is forced to punch clear moments later.

The ball is then launched forward by McClean for McGoldrick to chase but referee Grande from Spain blows for a very marginal foul from the forward midway through the first-half.

Duffy heads the ball clear and Rodriguez slices a volley well wide from the edge of the box when he was unmarked.

Whelan gives away a central free-kick 30 yards out for a foul on the advancing Schar when Switzerland were looking dangerous. The resulting free-kick from Arsenal’s Xhaka drifts a few yards out and a corner-kick is awarded.

The resulting corner-kick is fumbled by Randolph who had apparently fouled, the referee didn’t whistle though and the resulting rebound is blasted well over the crossbar.

Zakaria shoots from 25 yards on the 30th minute. The shot lacks pace and is straight into the arms of Randolph.

Ireland have a nice phase of passes in the Swiss final third, the ball falls to McGoldrick inside the ‘D’, he shoots, but his effort is deflected and is very easy for Sommer.

Ireland forced to absorb some pressure. The ball breaks from Whelan for Seferovic who forced a fine save from Randolph but the flag is (incorrectly) raised for offside.

Switzerland monopolizing possession with the game approaching the 40th minute.

Robinson is hurt by Zakaria and Ireland are awarded a free-kick 30 yards out and in line with the left edge of the Swiss penalty area. The Swiss hold a very high line on the edge of the ‘D’ with Hourihane’s ball played across the six-yard box narrowly evading everyone.

McClean goes on a burst just inside the Swiss half. He makes a 20 yard break with the ball but it gets stuck in his feet and he is dispossessed.

Another ball is played across the Irish six-yard box but Duffy dives and heads the ball powerfully away.

McGoldrick then bursts past the Swiss defender and enters the penalty area. He could shoot but decides to square for McClean who would have had a tap-in but there’s too much on the ball and it evades the Derry man. It’s definitely the best chance of the opening half.

Ireland finish the first half with a corner-kick. but Switzerland clear and the short whistle blows.

There’s no changes to either side to start the second-half.

Moment of worry for Ireland on 50 minutes as Schar surges forward, advancing fully 40 yards from deep in his own half before shooting from 30 yards but the shot goes high and wide.

Ireland win a free-kick in the right channel, 35 yards out from the Swiss goal. The Swiss clear the ball and break on the counter attack with Mbolo very nearly put in on goal with Stevens the only man back defending in front of Randolph’s goal but eventually Ireland get numbers back and the ball ends up in Randolph’s hands.

The crowd are in good spirits now with the crowd singing a rendition of “Stand up for the Boys in Green”.

Xhaka takes a free-kick near the Irish corner flag which is headed over the crossbar for a corner-kick and Freuler handles the ball.

Callum Robinson is called ashore after 57 minutes to be replaced by Alan Judge.

Let off for Ireland just past the hour mark when Embolo is put through on goal and slips just as he’s about to strike the ball from eight yards out – albeit at an angle.

Embolo dinks the ball to the back post but Alan Judge heads over when Rodriguez was behind him and all but certain to score were the ball to reach him. Switzerland dominating now with 64 minutes played.

Ireland finally create something in the second half with a McClean cross blocked for a corner-kick. The result corner-kick just evades Hendrick in the six-yard box.

Another dangerous ball across the Irish box is headed over the crossbar, right under the bar by Coleman on 68 minutes.

Shane Duffy goes down injured having won the ball well but following a bit of a skirmish involving a bunch of Swiss players, including Xhaka and Coleman prominently, Duffy is okay to continue.

Switzerland score a great goal with 15 minutes to play. The centre-half Schar bursting from deep once again. Four one-touch passes from Switzerland sees Schar in on goal and finishes first time from 15 yards into the corner of the net.

McGoldrick makes a good tackle to prevent the Swiss crossing into the Irish area but when you’re 0-1 down with 10 minutes left, you want your striker much further up the pitch.

Scott Hogan comes on for Conor Hourihane after 82 minutes as Ireland look to go for it.

McClean does very well to track a run from Mbolo when he would have been through on goal, albeit 45 yards from goal with seven minutes to play.

Whelan smashes one from 25 yards which Sommer does brilliantly to get onto the bar.

The ball goes out to McClean. He balloons the ball into the six yard box. McGoldrick is under it and he heads it to the net with five minutes to play.

Embolo is replaced by Albian Ajeti on 85 minutes.

The question has to be asked: why does it take going behind for Ireland to come on their shell and really look to attack in numbers?

David McGoldrick, having scored and put in yet another great shift is called ashore a minute into injury-time, to be replaced by Cork native Alan Browne.

There was a few skirmishes from there til the final whistle but it’s a very decent result for Ireland, especially having gone behind so late in the game.

Elsewhere in the group, Denmark made a lot easier work of Gibraltar than Ireland did, winning 0-6 in the tiny country.

 

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Randolph (Middlesbrough); Coleman (c) (Everton), Duffy (Brighton), Keogh (Derby County), Stevens (Sheffield United); Hendrick (Burnley), Whelan (Hearts), Hourihane (Aston Villa) (Hogan 82′); Robinson (Sheffield United) (Judge 57′), McGoldrick (Sheffield United) (Browne 91′), McClean (Stoke City)

SWITZERLAND: Sommer; Mbabu (Fernandes 94′), Schär, Elvedi, Akanji, Rodríguez; Zakaria, Freuler, Xhaka (c), Embolo (Ajeti), Seferovic

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