Switzerland edged closer to qualification for the last 16 of UEFA EURO 2016 with a gutsy draw at Parc des Princes, battling back from a goal down to share the Group A spoils thanks to a wonderful left-foot volley from Admir Mehmedi.
Romania had led through Bogdan Stancu’s 18th-minute penalty and they grew in stature after surviving several Swiss missses in the first half, notably by Haris Seferović.
The Eintracht Frankfurt striker sent a shot wide of Ciprian Tătăruşanu’s left-hand post after six minutes and had another effort saved by the keeper soon afterwards. Blerim Džemaili also headed a presentable opportunity wide.
Romania made them pay after 18 minutes, when Stephan Lichtsteiner fouled the lively Alexandru Chipciu inside the area and Stancu scored his second penalty of the tournament, slotting into the bottom left corner.
Cristian Săpunaru could have doubled Romania’s advantage but hit a post. Despite having had most of the ball, and the better chances, Switzerland were rattled.
They settled after the break, though, and drew level in fine style when Mehmedi fired home the sweetest of left-foot volleys after 57 minutes.
Man of the match
Granit Xhaka showed both style and steel in a splendid display in Switzerland’s midfield. He was at the heart of much of their possession football and can really make a name for himself in this EURO.
They didn’t play brilliantly against Albania in their opening game yet they got the win. Here, Switzerland were facing mounting problems but they showed character and no little skill to find a way back into the match. What will happen when it all clicks, you wonder?
Case for defence
Romania were tough to beat in qualifying and have revealed similar defensive capabilities here in France. There were some Swiss misses, for sure, but in Vlad Chiricheș they have a defensive leader who can mix it with the best attackers. Brave as a lion, the skipper’s colleagues all showed strength at the back.