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15.10.2002 at 19:00 Buckley Park, Kilkenny Attendance:
Under 21 2 - 3 Switzerland
Referee: Haim Yaacov (Israel) European Qualifier / PROG X2-match

Andy Reid (2)
Liam Miller (8)
Cerrone 43
Rochat 74
Vonlanthen 80
Opening squads
Joseph Murphy
James Goodwin
Clifford Byrne
Paul Tierney
John Thompson
Graham Barrett
Thomas Butler
Andy Reid
Liam Miller
Wesley Hoolahan
Johnathan Daly
M Wolfli,
A Nef,
R Schwegler,
A Rochat,
P Senderos,
R Shala,
D Gygax,
M Sanou,
A Muff,
P Baumann
1P Cerrone
Barry Roche
Jason Mc Guinness
Stephen Paisley
John Lester
Michael Doyle
Noel Hunt
John O Flynn
Diego Benaglio (GK)
Steve von Bergen
Nenad Savic
Johan Vonlanthen
Kim Jaggy
Nicolas Marazzi
Yassin Mikari
Michael Doyle -> Thomas Butler (46)
John O Flynn -> Andy Reid (76)
Noel Hunt -> John Thompson (87)
Vonlanthen for Sanou 62 mins,
Savic for Baumann 71 mins,
von Bergen for Shala 89 mins,
Yellow cards
None. Alain Nef 36 mins,
Roland Schwegler 53 mins.
Red cards
None. None
Other statistics
0 Shots 0
0 Shots on goal 0
0 Offsides 0
0 Corner kicks 0
0 Free kicks 0
0 Penalties 0
Match report

Pictures from the match
Ireland 2 Switzerland 3

Ireland squandered a 2-0 lead to suffer their second European Under-21 Championship qualifying group defeat in a row as the Swiss had the last laugh at Buckley Park, Kilkenny.

Don Givens’s side, which had begun the campaign with a 2-0 defeat in Russia, had got off to a flying start with two goals inside the first eight minutes. But a defensive mix-up just before half-time led to a goal which gave the Swiss hope, and two late strikes handed the visitors what had earlier seemed an extremely unlikely victory.

The game was just two minutes old when Sunderland winger Tommy Butler started a bright, crisp move with a pass down the right flank to Wes Houlihan. The Shelbourne man sent in a low cross which reached the back post where Nottingham Forest’s Andy Reid slid in to fire home.

The second goal also originated on the right wing, six minutes later, when Butler sent a short ball into Reid on the corner of the Swiss box. Reid instantly came under pressure but the ball popped out to Liam Miller and he rifled a low shot past a diving keeper into the bottom left-hand corner.

Ireland continued to press for a third goal but were nearly made to pay on the half-hour when a charged-down Houlihan shot rebounded to the centre circle and was picked up by Daniel Gygax, who turned quickly and switched play to the right as the home side raced back.

Gygax’s pass found Maxime Sanou in the clear and the striker bore down on Joe Murphy’s goal only to blast wide from the edge of the area. The move livened up the contest but Ireland still continued to dominate and Stockport striker Jon Daly forced a save from Marco Wolfli with a neat, chipped volley in the 35th minute.

As the half-time whistle beckoned, however, the Irish were guilty of losing concentration. John Thompson sent a free-kick from the right-back area across the defensive line where it was worked to left-back Paul Tierney.

The Manchester United player sent it back inside but only to the waiting Gygax who pounced on the pass and crossed to the back post where Pascal Cerrone was on hand to send home a free header.

From 2-0 up and cruising, the Swiss were suddenly back in the game and heading into the interval with their confidence restored.

Ireland boss Mick McCarthy and his assistant Ian Evans were both inside Buckley Park and, as had been agreed with Givens on Monday, they saw Butler withdrawn at half-time in order to join the full squad for tonight’s Group 10 qualifier against the Swiss. Arsenal striker Graham Barrett had been expected to come off at the interval as well but he started the half while Michael Doyle kicked off as Butler’s replacement.

Again Ireland started the half brightly and Shels star Houlihan was unlucky not to carve open the first goal of the half when he drifted in from the right wing to send a clever through-ball between two Swiss defenders but just a yard too long for the chasing Barrett.

It was Barrett again who was causing problems eight minutes later when he received an inside ball from Reid but as he turned he was brought to ground in a clumsy challenge that earned Roland Schwegler a booking. The Swiss were let off the hook when Miller’s free-kick was blasted over the bar.

Then it was the visitors’ turn to be wasteful as striker Andre Muff fired over in the 55th minute and then saw a header from point-blank range just tipped over the woodwork by Murphy three minutes later.

Swiss coach Bernard Challandes made his first change of the night when the lively Sanou was replaced by 16-year-old Johan Vonlanthen of Young Boys Berne just after the hour mark. It added momentum to their fight back and Ireland were fortunate that Tierney was on hand to block a pass from the substitute which was bound for the overlapping Gygax.

The Swiss were eventually rewarded, though, in the 76th minute when substitute Nenad Savic sent a curling free-kick from the right to the far post. Thompson got under the cross but could only head it upwards onto

his crossbar and the ball dropped for Alain Rochat to send home for the equaliser.

Givens was forced into action and he withdrew Reid from midfield and sent in another striker, Cork City’s leading scorer John O’Flynn, for his international debut.

It was skipper and centre-back Jim Goodwin who next tested Wolfli, his right-footed, 78th minute shot from the edge of the area forcing the keeper to punch to safety. Rather than chasing a winner, however, the Irish were left looking for an equaliser when, with four minutes to go, substitute Vonlanthen fired in a right-footed curling shot that flew past Murphy and rattled in off the far post to give the Swiss a lead they would not be as careless to squander.

IRELAND: J Murphy (WBA), J Thompson (Nottm Forest) replaced by N Hunt (Shamrock Rovers, 87), P Tierney (Manchester United), C Byrne (Sunderland), J Goodwin (Stockport captain), L Miller (Celtic), T Butler (Sunderland) replaced by M Doyle (Celtic, 45min), A Reid (Nottm Forest) replaced by J O’Flynn (Cork City, 78th min), J Daly (Stockport), G Barrett (Arsenal), W Houlihan (Shelbourne).

Subs not used: J McGuinness (Bohemians), B Roche (Nottm Forest), S Paisley (Manchester City), J Lester (Monaghan Utd).

SWITZERLAND: M Wolfli, A Nef, R Schwegler, A Rochat, P Senderos, R Shala, D Gygax, M Sanou (J Vonlanthen, 61mins), A Muff, P Baumann (N Savic 70), 11 P Cerrone

Referee: Haim Yaacov (Israel).

Republic of Ireland Under-21 manager Don Givens admitted last night that he was very disappointed by the manner of his side's 3-2 defeat to Switzerland at Buckley Park. Ireland had led 2-0 after eight minutes but they later conceded three goals to remain pointless in Group 10 of the European Championship qualfiers.

"All the players are gutted," said Givens. "We played far better than we did in Russia but individual mistakes cost us. We gave away a silly goal before half-time and then their equaliser was because of a lack of concentration," he explained.

He also admitted that once the Swiss side had got back into the game and equalised, he feld they would go on to win the game. "I felt at that stage that they were more up for it and I wasn't that surprised when they got the third. We are still lacking in a bit of professionalism and concentration."

However, despite his disappointment over losing, Givens insisted that the game at under-21 level was more about development than results. "People are obsessed with results but, at this level, they are not as important. I'm here to develop players and it's no use me asking creative players to start defending - that doesn't develop them at all," he explained.
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