Switzerland end on a high against Montenegro
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Switzerland 2-0 Montenegro
Eren Derdiyok and Stephan Lichtsteiner were on target in the second half as the Nati finished third in qualifying Group G.
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Switzerland finished their UEFA EURO 2012 qualification campaign on a positive note as second-half goals from Eren Derdiyok and Stephan Lichtsteiner earned them a Group G victory against Montenegro.
With the visitors already sure of a play-off berth thanks to Friday's dramatic draw against England, the result in Basel was largely academic. Still, the Swiss succeeded in disguising their disappointment and were rewarded for a dominant first-half showing when Derdiyok scored in fortuitous fashion six minutes after the restart. Lichtsteiner's fizzing strike ensured the Eidgenossen comfortably retained third place in the section.
Stunned by their elimination against Wales four days earlier, Ottmar Hitzfeld's side were at full strength as they sought redemption, and they enjoyed the better of the early stages. Captain Gökhan Inler was the first to threaten on 19 minutes, when his turn and shot flew wide with Mladen Božović scrambling.
Montenegro did their best to stay compact but the Swiss continued to fashion chances. Božović did well to push a Valon Behrami drive on to the roof of the net, minutes before Derdiyok beat his man on the left and unleashed a searing strike which whistled past the top corner.
The interval did little to interrupt the home side's flow and within six minutes of the restart they were in front. Derdiyok was the inadvertent scorer as Božović collided with a defender, allowing the Bayer 04 Leverkusen striker's flicked return pass to loop over him and into the net.
Xherdan Shaqiri's curler had already brought a fine save from the visiting keeper by the time Lichtsteiner doubled the advantage on 65 minutes. The right-back crowned his energetic burst with a sweet strike into the far corner after being laid off by the excellent Inler. Switzerland had a multitude of opportunities to extend their lead late on, but that will come as little consolation when the play-off draw takes place without them on Thursday.