Northern Ireland midfielder Steven Davis (left) fights for the ball with Switzerland midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri.
Northern Ireland midfielder Steven Davis (left) fights for the ball with Switzerland midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri. LAURENT GILLIERON

Northern Ireland angered by controversial call

NORTHERN Ireland manager Michael O'Neill says his players must use their anger over a controversial penalty call if they are to overcome a 1-0 deficit in their World Cup playoff with Switzerland.

The Swiss dominated the first leg at Windsor Park, Belfast but got lucky when the referee ruled Corry Evans had handled Xherdan Shaqiri's shot midway through the second half.

Ricardo Rodriguez converted the penalty to give the visitors a crucial away goal heading into Monday morning's second leg in Basel.

O'Neill said he and the players were angered by the penalty call but had to get a result in the second leg if they are to qualify for a first World Cup finals since 1986.

"I am staggered by the decision - it is bewildering,” O'Neill said.

"The players are angry but we have to find a way to get a result on Sunday.

"The ball hit Corry more on his back at the top of his shoulder, so it is incredible.

"No one had claimed a penalty and I thought the referee had blown for a foul or offside.

"It was such a defining moment in the match and we feel very hard done by.”

In the other Euro playoff, Croatia took a huge step to qualifying with a 4-1 win over Greece in the first leg in Zagreb.


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