Bailey Peacock-Farrell once again saved a penalty as Northern Ireland drew 0-0 with Switzerland in an exciting World Cup qualifier in Belfast.
Under-strength NI could not capitalise on a fine first-half display as their qualification hopes suffered a setback.
Shayne Lavery fired just wide after a blistering run and Peacock-Farrell saved Haris Seferovic’s spot-kick.
A passionate 16,000 home crowd returned to Windsor Park in numbers for the first time in almost two years.
NI rise above Bulgaria into third in Group C but stay three points behind the second-placed Swiss.
Last week’s 4-1 victory in Lithuania, followed by a 1-0 friendly win away to Estonia on Sundaym meant Ian Baraclough’s men came into Wednesday night’s match knowing that victory would have seen them move above Switzerland into second.
The draw still leaves them with a difficult task in terms of qualifying for the World Cup finals, but defeat would have all but ended any hopes they still have with a trip to Switzerland coming up in October.
A home crowd of 15,660 made up for lost time by providing a fantastic from before kick-off and throughout the 90 minutes, with the roar that greeted the penalty save one of the loudest the stadium has heard.
It does mean, however, that Northern Ireland have now gone eight competitive matches without a win at Windsor Park, a stadium that was crucial to their recent runs in qualifying campaigns.
More to follow.
- 19SmithBooked at 24minsSubstituted forBradleyat 68′minutes
- 22BrownBooked at 90mins
- 3LewisBooked at 48mins
- 15ThompsonSubstituted forSavilleat 74′minutes
- 17LaverySubstituted forJonesat 86′minutes
- 9WashingtonSubstituted forCharlesat 68′minutes
- 3WidmerSubstituted forLotombaat 87′minutes
- 10FreiBooked at 16minsSubstituted forSteffenat 60′minutes
- 6ZakariaBooked at 53minsSubstituted forAebischerat 86′minutes
- 16FassnachtSubstituted forZuberat 59′minutes
- 9SeferovicSubstituted forZeqiriat 77′minutes
- Harald Lechner
Match ends, Northern Ireland 0, Switzerland 0.
Second Half ends, Northern Ireland 0, Switzerland 0.
Ciaron Brown (Northern Ireland) is shown the yellow card.
Attempt missed. Steven Zuber (Switzerland) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Jordan Lotomba.
Substitution, Switzerland. Jordan Lotomba replaces Silvan Widmer.
Substitution, Switzerland. Michel Aebischer replaces Denis Zakaria.
Substitution, Northern Ireland. Jordan Jones replaces Shayne Lavery.
Corner, Switzerland. Conceded by Craig Cathcart.
Attempt blocked. Remo Freuler (Switzerland) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Ricardo Rodríguez.
Andi Zeqiri (Switzerland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Danny Ballard (Northern Ireland).
Attempt blocked. Danny Ballard (Northern Ireland) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Alistair McCann with a cross.
Corner, Northern Ireland. Conceded by Nico Elvedi.
Attempt blocked. George Saville (Northern Ireland) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Alistair McCann with a headed pass.
Substitution, Switzerland. Andi Zeqiri replaces Haris Seferovic.
Remo Freuler (Switzerland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by George Saville (Northern Ireland).
Substitution, Northern Ireland. George Saville replaces Jordan Thompson.
Foul by Haris Seferovic (Switzerland).
Danny Ballard (Northern Ireland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.