The Republic of Ireland’s hopes of qualifying automatically for Euro 2020 rest on next month’s home game with Denmark after they lost in Switzerland.
Victory would have booked the Irish’s place but Haris Seferovic and Edimilson Fernandes hit the goals.
A win over the Danes on 18 November will secure qualification from Group D.
But the Irish will be without skipper Seamus Coleman, who was sent off in conceding a second-half penalty superbly saved by Darren Randolph.
After rain had threatened Tuesday’s game, Switzerland’s first-half tempo yielded Benfica striker Seferovic’s 16th-minute goal and Fernandes hammered in the second in the closing seconds despite Shane Duffy’s attempts to keep out the close-range shot.
With the Republic changing from their early 3-5-2 formation to a more familiar 4-4-2, they produced second-half pressure but the Swiss held firm to put themselves back on course for qualification after their 1-0 defeat in Copenhagen on Saturday.
The Republic still top Group D on goal difference from Denmark with Switzerland a point behind but both the Danes and Swiss have games in hand, which come against out-of-contention sides Gibraltar and Georgia on 15 November.
Barring unlikely slips by the Swiss against Georgia and in their final game in Gibraltar, only a Republic win against the Danes in their final game will be enough to secure qualification for Mick McCarthy’s side.
If that route fails, they may still have the fallback option of a play-off place.
Embolo artistry helps set up Swiss win
Mick McCarthy handed a first start to Brighton youngster Aaron Connolly after his encouraging first-cap cameo in Saturday’s uninspiring draw in Georgia but instead it was Borussia Monchengladbach’s Breel Embolo who was the most effective attacker in the crucial first half.
With Embolo finding space all too easily, he helped the Swiss carve out a series of first-half chances and Seferovic’s finish through Shane Duffy’s legs from outside the box undid the Republic’s obvious plan of holding out and frustrating the home side.
After the Swiss had controlled the first half, the Republic rallied in the second half but beyond having a Glenn Whelan shot blocked, had little to show in the way of clearcut chances.
Coleman’s dismissal came after he was adjudged to have handled an Embolo shot in the 76th minute which followed his first-half yellow card for an angry exchange with Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka.
Randolph superbly saved substitute Ricardo Rodriguez’s spot-kick while Fabian Schar also headed against the Republic woodwork in the second half before Fernandes’ clinching goal.
More to follow.
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