Sun, Oct 09, 2016 - Page 11 News List

Switzerland win five-goal thriller against Hungary

Reuters, BUDAPEST

Switzerland’s Valentin Stocker, left, scores as Hungary’s Attila Fiola defends during their FIFA World Cup 2018 Group B qualification match at the Groupama Arena in Budapest on Friday.

Photo: EPA

Substitute Valentin Stocker scored in the last minute to give Switzerland a 3-2 win away against Hungary on Friday after Adam Szalai had twice equalized for the hosts in a thrilling World Cup qualifier.

Switzerland went top of Group B with six points from two matches following a game in which all five goals were scored after halftime, while Hungary were left with one point and already look unlikely to make a first World Cup appearance since 1986.

The Faroe Islands were second with four points after their shock 2-0 win in Latvia, while Portugal and Latvia have three and Andorra none.

Switzerland struggled to get going in the first half without the suspended Granit Xhaka, who usually dictates the rhythm in midfield.

Striker Haris Seferovic, widely criticized for his performances at Euro 2016 where he failed to score a goal, put them in front six minutes after halftime, scoring from a rebound after Xherdan Shaqiri’s shot was saved by Peter Gulacsi.

Szalai equalized two minutes later, also from a rebound after his own shot hit the post.

Left-back Ricardo Rodriguez put Switzerland back in front in the 67th minute, volleying home from Valon Behrami’s lofted cross for his first international goal, only for Szalai to again equalize four minutes later.

However, Switzerland were not to be denied and snatched maximum points when a long throw-in was twice headed on and Stocker scored at the far post.

“Hungary applied lots of pressure on us during the game, which was intense and entertaining. Hungary came back at us twice, but we showed character at end,” Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic told reporters.

Hungarian coach Bernd Storck said: “It was a dynamic and good game, both teams gave all they had. We are very disappointed because came back twice against a top team, but we made too many mistakes and they made us pay for them.”

In other games, Luxembourg fell to Sweden 1-0, Belgium beat Bosnia-Herzegovina 4-0, Greece defeated Cyprus 2-0 and Estonia beat Gibraltar 4-0.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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