Shaqiri steals the show
Xherdan Shaqiri bagged a hat-trick for Switzerland as they came from behind to see off Bulgaria 3-1 in Group G
Last Updated: 06/09/11 9:57pm
Xherdan Shaqiri bagged a hat-trick for Switzerland as they came from behind to see off Bulgaria 3-1 in Group G and keep their slim Euro 2012 dreams alive.
Ivan Ivanov broke the deadlock for the visitors in Basel with just nine minutes on the clock, but that was as good as their night got.
Highly-rated teenager Shaqiri netted either side of the interval to put the Swiss in control of the contest, and their task was made all the easier when Zhivko Milanov saw red on 65 minutes.
Shaqiri added a third in the final minute, sealing a result which leaves Switzerland three points behind second-placed Montenegro in Group G with two games left to play.
The first chance of the game fell to Switzerland's Granit Xhaka in the seventh minute, but he volleyed over from 20 yards.
At the other end Johan Djourou blocked Tsvetan Genkov's shot, but the visitors did not have to wait long to open the scoring as, from Martin Petrov's corner, the ball broke to Stiliyan Petrov.
His header found Ivanov, who converted from close range.
Three times Shaqiri failed to find the target from outside the box as Switzerland went in search of an equaliser.
But it was fourth time lucky as, deep into first-half stoppage time, Shaqiri latched onto a pass from Gokhan Inler to level matters heading into the break.
Switzerland maintained the momentum after the interval and Inler was denied first by Petar Zanev's block, then Nikolay Mihailov's save.
For Bulgaria, Ivelin Popov fired wide but it was Switzerland who looked the more threatening side and they took the lead just after the hour mark.
Again it was Shaqiri, with Admir Mehmedi the provider this time for his 12-yard finish.
Milanov then attracted the referee's attention for a foul on Inler and, having been booked for dissent in the first half, received a second yellow.
And Shaqiri ensured Switzerland made the most of their man advantage, finishing from 20 yards to complete his hat-trick.