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Swiss setback adds to U21s' woe on road

SWITZERLAND'S Fabien Frei grabbed the only goal three minutes into the second half of this UEFA U21 Championship qualifier in Lugano last night to secure his side's place in the play-offs.

The Irish last won a competitive away game in August 2006 and, after a decent first-half display, had hopes of correcting that statistic.

Celtic new boy Anthony Stokes was prominent and Eddie Nolan should have put the Irish ahead in the 36th minute, but headed wide.

Stokes had a fine chance four minutes into the second half, but he fired straight at Yann Sommer after a Conor Hourihane set-up.

The Irish faded in the second half, falling behind as they found the Swiss defence a tough nut to crack. Sebastian Wuthrich might have scored again in the 72nd minute, but Stephen Henderson saved his deflected free-kick.