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The Republic of Irelands hopes of qualifying for Euro 2020 remainder on next months home match with Denmark once they lost in Switzerland.
Victory would have reserved the Irishs place but Edimilson Fernandes and Haris Seferovic reach the aims.
Qualification will be secured by A triumph over the Danes on 18 November from Group D.
But the Irish would be without captain Seamus Coleman, who had been sent off in conceding a punishment superbly preserved by Darren Randolph.
After Tuesdays game had been threatened by rain, the first-half tempo of Switzerland yielded Fernandes hammered despite the efforts to keep out the close-range shot of Shane Duffy at the second in the final seconds and Benfica striker Seferovics 16th-minute goal.
Together with the Republic changing to some more familiar 4-4-2 from their formation, they created strain but the held firm to place themselves back after their 1-0 defeat in Copenhagen on Saturday.
The Republic still top Group D goal difference from Denmark using Switzerland a point behind but both the Danes and Swiss have matches in hand, which come against Georgia and sides Gibraltar respectively 15 November.
Barring unlikely slips by the Korean against Georgia and at their final game in Gibraltar – or Denmark – a Republic win from the Danes in their game will probably be sufficient to secure qualification for McCarthys side.
When the Swiss only pick up four points in their past two games the Irish would need to win by two objectives.
They might nevertheless have the fallback option of a play-off place, if this route fails.
McCarthy handed a first start to Brighton youngster Aaron Connolly following his encouraging first-cap cameo at Saturdays uninspiring draw in Georgia but rather it had been the Breel Embolo who was the best offender in the first half that was decisive of Borussia Monchengladbach.
With Embolo discovering space all too readily, he assisted the Swiss carve through the legs of Shane Duffy out a set of first-half opportunities and Seferovics ending from outside the box undid the clear method of holding out and frustrating the home side of the Republic.
After the first half had been commanded by the Swiss the Republic rallied in the second period but beyond having a Glenn Whelan shot blocked, had little to show in the way of opportunities that are clearcut.
Colemans dismissal came after he was adjudged to have managed an Embolo shot in the 76th minute, which followed his card with the Granit Xhaka of Arsenal.
While Fabian Schar led before Fernandes objective from the Republic woodwork in the second half replacement Ricardo Rodriguezs spot-kick was saved by randolph.
The display in Saturdays 0-0 draw in Georgia of the Republic came in for criticism and McCarthy opted for the formation that was altered in addition to three changes.
Brighton youngster Connolly partnered James Collins in assault as Callum Robinson dropped out, with Preston midfielder Alan Browne.
As expected, Sheffield Uniteds Enda Stevens returned after suspension however was a part of a three-man defence alongside Shane Duffy and John Egan.
Regardless of Saturdays 1-0 defeat by Denmark, Swiss boss Vladimir Petkovic opted to get an unchanged starting line-up because the home side immediately took control and his faith was rewarded.
The signs were ominous for the people as Xhaka analyzed Randolph in the seventh minute before player of the year Seferovic blasted low into the internet from just outside the box through the legs of Duffy after Jeff Hendricks misdirected defensive header.
At the end, Duffy led a Glenn Whelan corner direct in keeper Yann Sommer before the break but it was a rare Republic goal effort.
McCarthy introduced Callum ODowda to get striker Collins , after abandoning his three at the rear formation midway through the half and it assisted the people produce some strain in the next quarter.
But the Swiss then visiting Schars header come back off a post continued to split with Randolph needing to tip above a Seferovic header.
Connolly was substituted by Scott Hogan about 70 minutes shortly before Colemans dismissal when conceding the penalty as he picked up another yellow card.
The Randolph stretched to his left to keep out Rodriguezs spot-kick but can do nothing like Fernandes blasted in from close range in the final minute of injury-time despite Duffys efforts.

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