NI v Switzerland: Jonny Evans angered over penalty decision against Switzerland
Defender Jonny Evans was fuming as their World Cup 2018 dreams were left in ruins following a terrible referee decision from Ovidiu Hategan, WRITES KEVIN McLAUGHLIN.
The Romanian official incredibly awarded Switzerland a penalty when Xherdan Shaqiri’s volley clearly hit brother Corry’s back.
In fact the West Brom centre-back felt the decision was worse than Thierry Henry’s handball against the Republic of Ireland in the 2009 World Cup play-off in Paris.
“I actually think it’s a worse decision because the referee has actually made a call that isn’t there,” he stated.
“It’s different if he didn’t see it, he’s claiming that he did see something that didn’t happen and that’s the hardest bit to take.
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“It’s strange because I had a feeling the referee knew he had made a wrong decision and I’m sure he was getting fed information throughout the game, and he could tell with everybody else’s reaction that maybe he had made the wrong call.
“It’s really, really difficult to take. Throughout my career it’s a decision that has really, really hurt - a game with such magnitude and the referee tries to guess really.
“You can’t be 100 per cent sure if something never happened.
“I said that to the referee straight after the decision. I said you have to be 100 per cent sure with this but obviously it’s too late then because he has given the decision and it’s difficult to take.
“But we still have a big chance to turn it around, it has happened early enough in the tie.”
The 29-year-old felt the game on a whole was played in good spirits in spite of the importance of the occasion.
“I thought the game was played in great spirit by both sides, it was quite physical, the challenges were going in but I felt all the lads stayed on their feet, bar one tackle by from Schar in the first half.
“Obviously it ruled Stuarty (Dallas) out for the rest of the game and he struggled to play on,” he added.
“But overall I felt the game was played in good spirit between the both teams, but I just felt that the referee was blowing up for a lot of free-kicks against us needlessly.”
Evans also conceded that he didn’t speak to his younger brother after the game, as the players were only focusing on Sunday’s second leg in Basel.
“I haven’t spoke to Corry, because it’s difficult,” he added.
“What do you say because he’s didn’t do anything wrong really.
“He’s made a great block on the shot and I think most of us were just worried about the fact that we have the second game now and prepare for that and we talked about that in the changing room.
“We said that we are still very much in this tie and although the disappointment and the anger of the decision is still brewing, we have to pick ourselves up and make sure that we give everything going into the second leg.”