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Seferovic strike sends Switzerland four points clear

Switzerland 1-0 Cyprus
The hosts were heading for another goalless draw with Cyprus until substitute Haris Seferovic scored in the 90th minute for the Group E leaders.

Goalscorer Haris Seferovic and Ricardo Rodriguez (right) celebrate Switzerland's success
Goalscorer Haris Seferovic and Ricardo Rodriguez (right) celebrate Switzerland's success ©AFP/Getty Images

A last-minute goal from substitute Haris Seferovic gave Switzerland a 1-0 win against Cyprus and a four-point lead at the top of FIFA World Cup qualifying Group E.

The hosts were in danger of failing to take advantage of slips on Friday by Albania and Iceland until Xherdan Shaqiri released Seferovic, who lifted the ball over Antonis Giorgallides for his first senior international goal. The relief in the Stade de Genève was palpable as coach Ottmar Hitzfeld and his side were spared a second 0-0 draw in succession against the section's bottom team.

Switzerland, guilty of squandering several chances, ought to have been ahead by that point. From FC Zürich strikers Josip Drmic and Mario Gavranović to Shaqiri and Valentin Stocker on the wings, nobody was able to find a way through, their path often barred by Cyprus goalkeeper Giorgallides.

An effort from Drmic was cleared just before it crossed the line, while Gavranović hit the upright with a header. A 20-metre shot from Stocker then flew just past the top-left corner before Shaqiri had two attempts as half-time approached, the first being saved by the feet of Giorgallides.

The pattern of play remained the same after the break – Shaqiri rifled a shot into the side netting and Giorgallides got down to Gavranović's strike. Chances continued to come and go and, in the end, it was left to ACF Fiorentina's Seferovic, winning his third cap, to do what his team-mates could not.