David McGoldrick headed in a late equaliser to extend the Republic of Ireland's unbeaten start to Euro 2020 qualifying as they snatched a 1-1 home draw against Switzerland.
Ireland were heading for a first defeat of the campaign in their 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 their only on-target attempt in the second half.
The result could prove to be crucial for Mick McCarthy's side as it keeps them six points in front of Switzerland, who are also unbeaten and have 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 visitors 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 visitors had squandered a three-goal lead to draw 3-3 with Denmark in their last qualifier, however, and they 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 keep 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 they were behind going into the closing minutes.
Ireland have a cushion over their third-placed opponents, meaning Switzerland need to win both of their additional games to draw level.
Denmark, who have played one game less than Ireland, sit three points behind the group leaders 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.
Key Opta facts
- The Republic of Ireland (P5 W3 D2 L0) have managed to remain unbeaten through their first five qualifying matches of a European Championship campaign for the first time since the 1996 qualifiers.
- Switzerland have failed to win any of their last four matches in all competitions (D3 L1), their longest winless run under manager Vladimir Petkovic.
- Ireland are now unbeaten in their last seven matches in all competitions (P7 W3 D4 L0) - it is their longest such run since between November 2014 and October 2015 (also seven).
- Fabian Schar's opener for Switzerland was his eighth international goal and his first since October 2016.
- Jeff Hendrick earned his 50th Ireland cap over six years after his international debut against Poland (February 2013).
Switzerland have a quick turnaround in qualifiers as they host Gibraltar on Sunday. Ireland take on Bulgaria in a friendly at the Aviva Stadium two days later and continue their qualifying bid next month with trips to Georgia and Switzerland.