Corry Evans apologises for wife's racist rant at Romanian referee

13 November, 2017, 03:18 | Author: Terri Saunders
  • Chris Brunt has known dark times with Northern Ireland but is looking to a turn a corner

A controversial handball call in the box and the ensuing penalty from Ricardo Rodriguez mean the Swiss hold a huge advantage over Northern Ireland after the first leg.

Ricardo Rodriguez's controversial penalty has the Swiss in pole position to win the play-off and reach Russian Federation, with Northern Ireland needing to overturn a 1-0 deficit on Sunday to qualify for the tournament for the first time since 1986.

An Xherdan Shaqiri volley deflected off Corry Evans shoulder as he turned his back from the shot but referee Ovidiu Hategan saw fit to award a penalty.

The Irish FA are expecting over 2,000 Northern Ireland fans to travel to the Swiss city for the game but only 1,800 have tickets for the match.

Asked if he had seen a poorer decision from a referee, O'Neill said: "Well certainly not in any of the games that I have been involved in, particularly at this level, no". But the referee gives the penalty and this is football. I will need to see it again.

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"I'm very pleased with the performance", Shaqiri added.

"Obviously he has put Stuarty (Dallas) out of the rest of the game after the challenge - he struggled but I thought the game was played in good spirits between the two team and I thought the ref was blowing up lot of free-kicks needlessly".

"I'm absolutely devastated about the decision but the game in Basel is more important and I will be there to support them". "We dominated for 70 or 80 minutes but unfortunately we didn't score more goals to return home with a more reassuring lead", said Petkovic.

No European team has ever qualified for the World Cup via the play-offs after losing the opening leg at home, highlighting the magnitude of the task awaiting the Northern Irish in Basel. We are a good team, I think we are a better team than Northern Ireland, and tomorrow with all the fans and all the support we have here, we want to make them proud and we want to qualify for Russian Federation.

"They took a lot of points at home, so it is going to be very hard to come to Basel and play more offensively than they did".

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