Granit Xhaka’s was sent off as European champions Portugal suffered a 2-0 defeat away to Switzerland in their opening 2018 World Cup Group B, earning his seventh red card since April 2014.

Breel Embolo opened scoring for the host at St Jakob-Park after 24 minutes, before Admir Mehmedi fired in a second on the hour mark.

Switzerland finished the match with 10 men win in stoppage time, when Granit Xhaka picked up a second caution for a needless foul on Joao Mario. Having initially been booked for catching Portugal midfielder Adrien Silva on the thigh with a high foot.

Xhaka’s sixth red card in his last 78 matches and his seventh since April 2014 for both club and country.

Swiss coach Vladimir Petkovic said:

“For me, they were two half-yellow cards, which annoys me.

“He will be missed, but we will try to compensate with a team performance against Hungary. Granit has shown a powerful performance and leadership.”

The Swiss midfielder was sent-off three times last season more than any other player in the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach following two red cards in 2014/15 and one the season before, and he finished the season by receiving the third-most fouls in the German league by giving away 73 free-kicks or penalties.


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