Belfast Telegraph

Watch: It's up to us to reach Russia for Corry Evans, says Northern Ireland star Chris Brunt

By Gareth Hanna

Northern Ireland's Chris Brunt says the GAWA will use Corry Evans' suspension as extra motivation to reach Russia.

Evans will miss the second leg in Switzerland after picking up a yellow card when referee Ovidiu Hategan reckoned that the Blackburn midfielder handled Xherdan Shaqiri's volley.

Now Brunt is determined to use the decision, that handed the Swiss a crucial away goal and a 1-0 lead after the first leg, to spur Northern Ireland to a comeback victory.

"We're all gutted for (Corry) but now it's up to us to get a result for him on Sunday night," said Brunt.

"It was always over two legs and we've got the second leg to come. We're not out of the game. It's up to us to pick ourselves up and go again on Sunday night."

Both Shaqiri and Benfica striker Haris Seferovic went close to opening the scoring before the contentious penalty and Brunt concedes that performances level will need to be better if NI are to become the first European team ever to overturn a first leg home defeat in a World Cup play-off.

"We could have done a lot better ourselves but to lose the game the way we did is disappointing," said Brunt.

"They're a good side. We knew the game was going to be like that, similar to when we played the Czech Republic. They've got good players playing good teams all over Europe. We could have done a bit better with the ball when we got it though and got ourselves into good positions.

"We didn't make as much of them as we could but credit to them. They defended well when the ball came into their box and they were prepared for what came.

"We're going to have to go and try and win the game. I suppose it's important not to get blown away by going too gung ho early doors but the tie's over 180 minutes and we're still well in it. You've got to pick yourself up and crack on."

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