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O'Neill disappointed with 'staggering' and 'bewildering' decision

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Northern Ireland's manager Michael O'Neill watches from the touchline during the FIFA 2018 World Cup qualifier second round football match between Northern Ireland and Switzerland at Windsor Park in Belfast on November 9, 2017.

Image credit: Getty Images

ByPete Sharland
09/11/2017 at 22:03 | Updated 09/11/2017 at 23:09
@PeteSharland

Michael O'Neill has called the decision to award a penalty against Northern Ireland "staggering" and "bewildering."

Switzerland won the penalty when Corry Evans was penalised after Xherdan Shaqiri's volley struck his upper arm as he turned away, with replays showing that his arm was not outstretched.

AC Milan's Ricardo Rodriguez dispatched the penalty to give the Swiss a crucial away goal and a slender lead in the play-off ahead of the second leg in Basel.

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Speaking to Sky after the game O'Neill expressed his disbelief at the decision.

Xherdan Shaqiri of Switzerland is awarded a penalty after alleged handball by Corry Evans of Northern Ireland during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Play-Off first leg between Northern Ireland and Switzerland at Windsor Park on November 9, 2017 in Belf

Image credit: Getty Images

"It's staggering really that the referee can give that penalty decision in that situation,

"He was six yards from the incident, he has no one in his line of sight.

"Corry has just gone to block it, his body is turned and the ball actually hits him more on the shoulder than the arm so it is incredible.

"I thought he had blown for a foul or for offside, so to give a penalty for that, when nobody appealed, it is bewildering really. In such a defining moment in the match we feel very hard done by.

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Play-Off first leg between Northern Ireland and Switzerland at Windsor Park on November 9, 2017 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Image credit: Getty Images

"The tackle by Schar was a borderline red card, the referee certainly didn't do us any favours tonight."

He added that he would stress to his team that they have to use this frustration to their advantage in the second leg.

"We have to forget about it, I thought the players' reaction was very good, it's very difficult when you go behind in a game of this magnitude to an incident like that but I thought they reacted very well.

"We are still in the tie, we are only 1-0 down and maybe we will get the good fortune of having a referee who will give us a decision like that in the second leg.

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Play-Off first leg between Northern Ireland and Switzerland at Windsor Park on November 9, 2017 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Image credit: Getty Images

"I won't have to pick them up, you can tell there is anger in the dressing room, they are very aggrieved by what happened.

"They still believe they are in the tie, that's the most important thing, it's not like we are going there with nothing to play for."

It was a tough night for Scotland that saw them fail to register a single shot on target for the first time since their loss to Poland at Euro 2016.

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Related Topics
FootballWorld Cup Qualification UEFASwitzerlandNorthern Ireland
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