KEIR RADNEDGE in PARIS: Romania and Switzerland ended up all-square at 1-1 after their duel at Euro 2016 as they battled for the right to follow likely Group A winners France through to the second round.
A clash played at a lively pace provided plenty of entertainment even if it was short on quality between the two teams always considered as likely to scrap for a place on hosts’ coat tails.
The Romanians took a surprise early lead with a penalty from Bogdan Stancu while the Swiss levelled shortly after the interval with a thumping volley from Bayer Leverkusen’s Admir Mehmedi.
One notable factor about the game was the impatience shown by Russian referee Sergei Kasarev with shirt-tugging – which could be good news for the tournament as a whole if imitated by his colleagues.
Switzerland dominated the opening minutes with their luckless centre-forward Haris Seferovic twisting superbly before shooting wastefully wide and then seeing a further effort kept out of goal only by keeper Ciprian Tatarusanu’s outstretched foot.
Romania then sprang a surprise by taking the lead after their first meaingful attacjk in the 18th minute. Swiss defender Stephen Lichsteiner pulled the shirt of winger Alexandru Chipciu and Stancu beat Yann Sommer from the penalty spot.
Chipciu proved a perpetual nuisance on the Romanian left wing and once went close himself while fullback Cristian Sapuranu hit the outside of a post.
Switzerland were regaining some semblance of control just before half-time when Blerim Dzemaili missed an open goal with a ‘free’ header.
The ‘Nati’ carried on in that vein after the break and equalised deservedly in the 57th minute through Mehmedi after the Romanians failed to cleara left-wing corner.