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Penalty defeat for footballers

Fournier (right) battles with Costas Kaiafas and the Cypriot weather Keystone

Switzerland's national football team have suffered another miserable defeat in Cyprus, losing to their hosts 4-2 on penalties.

This content was published on February 12, 2002 - 20:18

A year ago Cyprus was the setting for the Swiss team's wretched 4-0 drubbing by Poland during a warm-up for the country's World Cup qualifying campaign.

This time around, Switzerland coach Köbi Kuhn was hoping to use the island as a launch pad for his European Championship qualifying preparations. But again the team were to be frustrated.

Played in persistent rain Tuesday's match attracted just fifty spectators and those who stayed away will hardly have missed much.

Unnecessary goal

Despite dominating the early stages of the game, the Swiss conceded an unnecessary goal in the 20th minute when Panathinaikos Athens forward Michail Constantinou profited from a Sebastien Fournier mistake.

Basel striker Hakan Yakin grabbed a deserved equaliser 12 minutes later, marking his sixth international goal in 14 appearances, but there was little else for the handful of supporters to enjoy as the game degenerated into a rain-sodden scrap.

With extra time failing to produce a golden goal, Cyprus were able to seal victory from the penalty spot. Weak shots from Fabio Celestini and Ricardo Cabanas were comfortably blocked by Cypriot keeper Panayiotou von Anorthosis while his Swiss counterpart Jörg Stiel was unable to make a single save.

Switzerland will be hoping to end their Cypriot jinx on Wednesday when they take on a Hungarian side beaten 2-0 by the Czech Republic in Tuesday's second match.

swissinfo with agencies

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