Hungary 1-3 Switzerland: Embolo’s late goal seals victory

Hungary 1-3 Switzerland: Embolo’s late goal seals victory

For London-born Kwadwo Duah, this was the stuff of dreams. Having made his Switzerland debut last week, under-pressure Switzerland boss Murat Yakin put his faith in the 27-year-old to lead the line and within 12 minutes, the 27-year-old delivered with the most assured of finishes for his first international goal.

His emotions as he celebrated with the dugout told the story. On the brink of half-time, Michel Aebischer curled in wonderfully from outside the box to double their advantage after a dominant first-half where a certain Granit Xhaka ran the game.

And despite a much-improved Hungary getting a goal back through Barnabas Varga midway through the second-half, Breel Embolo came off the bench to secure a crucial three points for Switzerland.

Three years ago, they knocked out France on penalties before losing to Spain on spotkicks in the quarter-final and on the basis of this showing, they will return here on Wednesday knowing that a win againt Scotland would all but secure their passage to the round-of-16.

In this battle of two teams tipped by many as potential tournament dark-horses, both sides knew that in the aftermath of Scotland’s mauling at the hands of Germany, a victory would put them in strong position to secure qualification.

Switzerland held onto their early lead to beat Hungary 2-1 in Cologne on Saturday afternoon

Liverpool 's Hungarian midfielder Dominik Szoboszlai (left) struggled to make an impact as Switzerland took an early lead

Liverpool ‘s Hungarian midfielder Dominik Szoboszlai (left) struggled to make an impact as Switzerland took an early lead

Hungary arrived in excellent form, having gone unbeaten in qualifying and Liverpool’s Dominik Szoboszlai became the youngest captain in the history of the European Championship at just 23 while Xhaka – fresh from doing the league and cup double with Bayer Leverkusen in Germany – led a Switzerland side that had the likes of Yann Sommer, Manuel Akanji and Fabian Schar.

With both teams operating in a 3-4-2-1 formation, each cancelled the other out in the inital phases but with the first real chance of the game, Switzerland struck.

Akanji found Aebischer in the final third and the Bologna midfielder took a touch before turning and threading a lovely delivery through the Hungarian backline to Duah, who converted with such composure that you would be forgiven for refusing to believe that this was only his second international cap.

Having scored 13 goals for Ludogorets Razgrad in Bulgaria, Duah was picked ahead of Monaco’s Embolo and Burnley’s Zeki Amdouni, with Xherdan Shaqiri left on the bench in a call that may have raised a few eyebrows before kick-off but was justified with the opening quarter of an hour.

Minutes later, they should have been two up when Bournemouth’s Milos Kerkez played a hospital backpass that put Ruben Vargas through on goal but his effort was saved by Peter Gulacsi.

Switzerland remained on the front foot and were rewarded just before half-time after a period of possession that resulted in Remo Freuler finding Aebischer on the edge of the box and the 27-year-old took a touch to his right to create some space and curl the ball into the far corner past Gulacsi.

It was the least they deserved and perhaps a timely reminder for Hungary to switch things up, who began the second half with a much more attacking approach and just after the hour mark, Varga should have pulled one back but headed wide from a golden opportunity after a great left-footed delivery by Roland Sallai found the striker in acres of space.

Yet minutes later, like any true striker, he got himself in a great position again and scored a diving header past Yann Sommer from a delightful Szoboszlai cross.

The vastly dominated Hungarian fans behind the Swiss goal began to bounce as their side hunted for a leveller with Italian coach Marco Rossi sending another striker on in 6ft 3in Martin Adam while Yakin sent on Embolo and Amdouni in a bid to finish the game off.

And it was Embolo who had the final say with his 14th international goal – pouncing on a poor defensive header from Sommer’s goalkick to control the ball on his chest, losing his knee brace as he ran through on goal, before calmly lobbing the ball over Gulacsi and sending the Swiss support into ecstasy.


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