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Chapuisat earns Swiss late draw in Belgrade

Patrick Müller pats the goal-scoring head of Chapuisat

(Keystone)

A late goal from Stéphane Chapuisat brought Switzerland a well-deserved 1-1 draw in Saturday's World Cup qualifying match in Yugoslavia.

The Grasshoppers Zurich striker headed in a high cross from Sébastien Fournier with just five minutes of play remaining, to cancel out Sinisa Mihajlovic's 69th minute opener.

Even then it took a reflex save in injury time from Swiss keeper Marco Pascolo to keep the scores level, the FC Zurich striker stretching out a shin to deflect the last dangerous move of the match.

"Yugoslavia are a good side," said Chapuisat after the match, "and it was as hard a game as you'd expect. We didn't have many chances, because of the way we were concentrating on defence but, fortunately, we were able to make the most of one of those chances."

Although the Swiss team enjoyed some good fortune in the closing moments of the game, the result was a fair reflection on the side's performance.

Yugoslavia had been strong favourites to win Saturday's match, but under new coach Milovan Doric, the home side looked a pale imitation of the team which reached the quarter-finals of last summer's European Championships.

Although frequently under pressure from the Yugoslav forwards, Switzerland's defenders coped admirably and the side as a whole appeared comfortable on the ball, playing a pressing, tight game.

Mihajlovic appeared to have undone all that hard work with barely 20 minutes remaining, when the Lazio defender swept a trademark free kick in off the outstretched glove of Pascolo.

But Pascolo himself and Chapuisat ensured that justice was done with their late heroics.

Saturday's draw made sure that Switzerland held onto third place in their six-team qualifying group, one point ahead of Yugoslavia who still have two games in hand.

Russia and Slovenia remain in the critical top two positions after the two sides drew 1-1 in Moscow.

Switzerland will now be looking to take three points from Wednesday's home game against Luxembourg, who are rooted to the bottom of the group one table, following an embarassing 2-0 home defeat against the Faroe Islands.

by Mark Ledsom


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