McGoldrick nets late leveller to keep Ireland top
European Championship Qualifying Group D, Aviva Stadium - Republic of Ireland 1 (McGoldrick 85') Switzerland 1 (Schar 74')
David McGoldrick scored a late equaliser as the Republic of Ireland maintained their unbeaten record and consolidated their place at the top of Group D with an impressive draw with Switzerland at the Aviva Stadium.
Trailing to Fabian Schar's 74th-minute strike, Ireland threw caution to the wind and were rewarded when the Sheffield United forward popped up with a late header to rescue what could be a crucial point for Mick McCarthy's side.
Playing with almost everyone behind the ball, Mick McCarthy's side restricted Switzerland - without the livewire Xherdan Shaqiri - to mostly half chances in a tight first half.
Despite the fact the visitors dominated possession, Ireland arguably created the better opportunities and with a little more quality in the final third, would have been ahead at the break. James McClean had his shot blocked by a last-ditch tackle, while Conor Hourihane's teasing cross went uncontested.
Switzerland cranked up the pressure after the restart and eventually broke Ireland's resistance, Schar completing a fine move consisting of one-touch, intricate passing.
But Ireland threw the shackles off in response and with five minutes of normal time to play McGoldrick headed home from James McClean's deflected cross for his first international goal.
The draw means Ireland remain first in the group but Denmark, who beat Gibraltar 6-0, closed the gap on the leaders to three points and they still have a game in hand on McCarthy's men. Switzerland stay third with five points, six points behind Ireland but have two games in hand.
TALKING POINT - The draw will do nicely for Ireland
Mick McCarthy admitted before kick-off that he would take a point and it was no surprise that the hosts set up tactically just to contain Swizerland - ranked 21 places above Ireland. The former Ipswich boss, still unbeaten since his return to the Ireland dugout, made it clear that he would try to make life hard for the visitors and the game plan proved effective. It hasn't been pretty, but with five games played, McCarthy finds his side in a remarkable position having drawn with group favourites Denmark and now Switzerland. Ireland travel to Georgia in October knowing a victory would send them tantalisingly close to the finals.
MAN OF THE MATCH - David McGoldrick (Ireland)
Haris Seferovic of Switzerland, Fabian Schar of Switzerland, David McGoldrick of Republic of Ireland during the EURO Qualifier match between Republic of Ireland v Switzerland at the Dublin Arena on September 5, 2019 in Dublin IrelandGetty Images
Switzerland: Sommer 6, Schar 8, Akanji 6, Elvedi 5, Mbadu 6, Zakaria 6, Xhaka 6, Rodriguez 5, Embolo 7, Freuer 6, Seferovic 5.. subs: Fernandes N/A, Ajeti N/A, Mehmedi N/A.
74' - GOAL! Republic of Ireland 0-1 Switzerland: A quality goal to break the deadlock! It has been coming. Lovely, one-touch football from the visitors sees Ireland's defence carved open, Embolo rolls it to Schar - now playing in midfield - who side-foots the ball into the corner of the net.
85' - GOAL! Ireland 1-1 Switzerland: McGoldrick levels the scores! Ireland are level! McClean drives down the flank, his cross is deflected into the box and McGoldrick simply wants it more than anyone else, generating enough power in his header to beat Sommer!
- Republic of Ireland (P5 W3 D2 L0) have managed to remain unbeaten through their first five qualifying matches of a European Championship campaign for the first time since the 1996 qualifiers, under manager Jack Charlton (first six).
- With their first shot on target in the second half, David McGoldrick netted his first ever international goal for Republic of Ireland, in what is his 11th appearance for his country.
- With Switzerland's 14th shot of the match, Fabian Schär scored his eighth international goal, and his first since October 2016 against Andorra.
- Republic of Ireland's only home defeat in a competitive international under Mick McCarthy was in October 2002 against Switzerland; his final game in charge during his first spell as Ireland boss.