Federer jokes Evans handball 'a clear penalty for Switzerland'

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After Corry Evans conceded a doubtful spot-kick in a 1-0 win in Thursday's play-off, the Swiss tennis legend defended the decision

Tennis star Roger Federer has joked the controversial spot kick given to Switzerland in their World Cup play-off win away to Northern Ireland was a "clear penalty".

Ricardo Rodriguez scored the only goal of the game in Belfast on Thursday, converting from 12 yards after referee Ovidiu Hategan gave the visitors a penalty for a handball against Corry Evans.

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The Northern Ireland midfielder blocked a shot from Xherdan Shaqiri with his side as he turned away from the ball, with Northern Ireland coach Michael O'Neill describing the costly decision against his side as "staggering".

But a tongue-in-cheek Federer, who is preparing to play at the ATP Finals in London, suggested he agreed with the controversial call made the Romanian referee.

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"I heard the Northern Ireland guy was trying to catch it, like a handball," the veteran Swiss joked. 

"And it was a clear penalty for Switzerland.”

Switzerland will host the second leg against Northern Ireland on Sunday, with Evans suspended after he was booked following the decision.

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