Football world reacts as Northern Ireland World Cup dreams all but end thanks to ‘shambolic’ Jamal Lewis red card against Switzerland

A “shambolic” decision by a Slovenian referee to send off Northern Ireland defender Jamal Lewis gave fans a sense of deva vu as things went awry against Switzerland in Geneva.

Sunday, 10th October 2021, 4:18 pm
Updated Sunday, 10th October 2021, 4:36 pm
Jamal Lewis got send off for apparent time-wasting while taking a throw-in

In the crunch World Cup qualifying match on Saturday evening full back Lewis got a second yellow card in the 36th minute of the match, with referee Slavko Vincic deciding the 17 seconds he took over a throw-in were too long.

Fans were brought back to the last big game against Switzerland – a World Cup play-off in 2017 – when the Swiss were awarded a contentious penalty which decided the game.

Analysis of Saturday night’s game showed that 23 seconds passed between the ball going out of play and Lewis being shown a second yellow card for apparent time-wasting. The ball had been in his possession for an estimated 17 seconds.

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Lewis received his second yellow card from referee Slavko Vincic in the 36th minute

The match finished 2-0 to Switzerland, with both goals coming after the sending off.

Northern Ireland fan and radio presenter Colin Murray said: “That Jamal Lewis second yellow was ridiculous.

“Last time I saw such a disgraceful decision go against Northern Ireland? Against Switzerland.”

Chairman of the Amalgamation of Official Northern Ireland Supporters’ Clubs, Gary McAllister, who was in Geneva for the game, said: “Like most others, I found the decision surprising.

Northern Ireland manager Ian Baraclough and full back Lewis were perplexed by the referee's decision

“I’m struggling to recall an occasion when a referee made such a harsh decision, so early in a game.

“It certainly changed the game and made the task for our team much more difficult.”

In the Sky Sports studio former NI international Neil Lennon said: “It is shambolic. I have never seen a player get booked for time-wasting on 36 minutes in any game in my life.”

Chris Brunt: “I think the referee, because the crowd has been whistling and booing from the word go, he thinks he needs to make an example of somebody, he’s pulled the yellow card out and then he’s realised he has to send him off.”

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