REFFIN’ HELL FOR MICHAEL
in particularly at this level.”
AC Milan defender Ricardo Rodriguez stepped up to beat Michael Mcgovern and gift the Swiss a crucial away goal ahead of Sunday’s return leg in Basel.
John O’neill, who played in Northern Ireland’s last World Cup in 1986, branded Mr Hategan “the worst referee I’ve seen in a long time”.
Boss O’neill stopped short of calling the official “incompetent”, but was left “staggered” by the decision and a yellow card for Evans which rules him out of the second leg of the World Cup play-off.
He said: “I’m not in a position to say the referee is incompetent – of course I’m not going to say that.
“The ball clearly strikes Corry on the back. He has turned his back on the ball.
“I thought the referee had given an offside or something but to award a penalty and to book Corry? It doesn’t qualify any of the criteria needed to award a penalty. You even saw the reaction of the Swiss. They were as surprised as we were that they got a penalty.”
O’neill, bidding to lead Northern Ireland to back-to-back tournaments for the first time ever, believes last night’s incident supports the case for video refereeing.
He said: “I spent three hours in a conference the other week at FIFA about video assistant refereeing and when you see what happened here you would be an advocate of it.”
Northern Ireland must now lift themselves and O’neill said: “We have to forget about this – we are still in the tie. There’s anger in the dressing room and I don’t think I’ll have to lift the players.”
The manager felt Swiss defender Fabian Schar was fortunate to escape a red for an early lunge on Stuart Dallas.
He said: “Stuart’s injury is a blow. The tackle was a red card in my opinion.”
GET IN Swiss celebrate their winning goal