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WC2018: Arsenal ace Xhaka sees red as Switzerland knock off Portugal

Switzerland opened their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign with a 2-0 victory over Euro2016 winners Portugal.

Vladimir Petkovic's side held a two-goal lead by the half-hour mark to eventually hold off the reigning European Champions at St Jakob-Park in Basel.

Breel Embolo, who joined Schalke despite Premier League interest in the summer, gave the Swiss a 23rd-minute lead when Portugal keeper Rui Patricio parried Wolfsburg left-back Ricardo Rodriguez's well-struck free-kick straight into the path of the striker who needed no section invitation to head home.

Seven minutes later and the home side were two to the good thanks to Bayer Leverkusen's Admir Mehmedi who casually looped the ball into the top right corner after being found in the area by Eintracht Frankfurt's Haris Seferovic.

Arsenal's summer signing, Granit Xhaka, was sent off early in injury time for a second bookable offence when cutting Joao Mario in the middle of the pitch but it did not upset his side's two-goal advantage to kick off Group B in style.

Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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