gtag('config', 'UA-12595121-1'); Embolo’s Comeback Seals Switzerland’s 3-1 Victory Over Hungary in Euro 2024 Opener – The Zimbabwe Mail

Embolo’s Comeback Seals Switzerland’s 3-1 Victory Over Hungary in Euro 2024 Opener

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Cologne, Germany (AP) – In a triumphant return to the international stage, Breel Embolo celebrated a stunning goal that clinched Switzerland’s 3-1 victory over Hungary in their opening game of the European Championship on Saturday.

Embolo, sidelined for 18 months due to a series of injuries, including a severe cruciate ligament tear, made a dramatic comeback with a crucial goal in added time. His performance marked a significant personal victory after a challenging period away from the field.

The decisive moment came unexpectedly when a Hungarian defender’s error allowed Embolo to seize the opportunity. His skillful lob over the goalkeeper showcased his sharpness despite his long absence from competitive play.

“It was a very uncertain situation after the very serious, long injury and another injury after that. We had hope,” Swiss coach Murat Yakin commented on Embolo’s return. Despite limited training with the team and no participation in pre-tournament friendlies, Embolo proved his worth when it mattered most.

Swiss captain Granit Xhaka highlighted Embolo’s importance to the team: “He’s a very, very important player for our team, both on the field and off the field.”

Switzerland started strong with an unexpected tactical move by coach Murat Yakin, who included forward Kwadwo Duah and midfielder Michel Aebischer in the starting lineup. Both players capitalized on their chances, with Duah scoring his first international goal early in the match.

Duah’s low shot past Hungarian goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi was initially flagged for offside but was confirmed after a lengthy video review, sparking jubilant celebrations from the Swiss bench. Aebischer doubled the lead just before halftime with a well-placed curling shot from the edge of the box, exploiting a defensive lapse from Hungary.

Hungary, however, was not ready to concede defeat. They came alive in the second half, with Barnabas Varga’s diving header off a Dominik Szoboszlai cross bringing them back into contention. The Hungarian supporters, known for their fervent support, lit flares in celebration, adding to the intensity of the match.

Despite the pressure, Switzerland held firm. Embolo’s late goal sealed the victory, easing the Swiss side’s nerves and dampening Hungary’s hopes of a comeback.

Hungary coach Marco Rossi acknowledged his team’s shortcomings in the first half, citing a “tactical misunderstanding” that allowed Aebischer too much freedom to orchestrate Swiss attacks. “We were too passive in the first half,” Rossi admitted, emphasizing the need for improvement in upcoming matches.

Switzerland’s win places them second in Group A, following Germany’s emphatic 5-1 victory over Scotland in the tournament opener on Friday. Hungary’s defeat marks their first competitive loss since September 2022.

Switzerland will face Scotland on Wednesday, aiming to build on their successful start. Hungary, meanwhile, will take on Germany in what promises to be a compelling rematch of their 2-2 draw from the last European Championship.

As the tournament progresses, all eyes will be on Embolo and his continued impact for Switzerland, exemplifying resilience and the spirit of comeback in the world of football.