David McGoldrick headed in a late equaliser to extend the Republic of Ireland's unbeaten start to Euro 2020 qualifying as it snatched a 1-1 home draw against Switzerland.
Ireland was heading for a first defeat of the campaign in its fifth outing when Fabian Schar struck 16 minutes from time in Thursday's Group D clash at the Aviva Stadium.
But McGoldrick found a way through at the other end, his maiden international goal arriving in the 85th minute to earn his side a share of the spoils with its only on-target attempt in the second half.
The result could prove to be crucial for Mick McCarthy's side as it keeps it six points in front of Switzerland, which is also unbeaten and has two games in hand.
Both teams lacked quality in front of goal in an uneventful first half, with Yann Sommer producing a routine save to keep out James McClean.
Switzerland continued to control possession in the second half but struggled when it came to the final ball, Alan Judge getting back to deny Ricardo Rodriguez a simple finish and Breel Embolo slipping at the vital moment to end another promising attack.
But eventually the visitor found a way through thanks to Schar's fine finish into Darren Randolph's bottom-left corner after linking up with Embolo inside the box.
The visitor had squandered a three-goal lead to draw 3-3 with Denmark in its last qualifier, however, and it once again failed to hold on for victory.
Less than a minute after Glenn Whelan had struck the crossbar with a ferocious drive, McGoldrick rose above his marker to head McClean's deflected cross past Sommer.
What does it mean? Ireland keeps Swiss at arm's length
Ireland boss McCarthy said ahead of the match that a draw would be a positive result for his side - and he will certainly accept it after it was behind going into the closing minutes.
Ireland has a cushion over its third-placed opponent, meaning Switzerland needs to win both of its additional games to draw level.
Denmark, which has played one game less than Ireland, sits three points behind the group leader after thumping Gibraltar 6-0.
Shaqiri void filled by unlikely man
In the absence of Xherdan Shaqiri, who ruled himself out of this match to focus on his club career with Liverpool, defender Schar proved to be Switzerland's most dangerous option in attack. He attempted three shots before finding a way through with his fourth.
Robinson fails to get involved
Sheffield United striker Callum Robinson had only seven touches of the ball before the interval - the fewest of any player. He did not look much better after the break and was unsurprisingly replaced before the hour mark.
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