Suffering Austria equal record-equalling winless run

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ZURICH, Oct 13 (Reuters) Austria's struggling national side suffered a 3-1 defeat at the hands of fellow Euro 2008 co-hosts Switzerland today.

Austria have now gone nine matches without a victory - equalling the country's worst ever run set in 1974.

Switzerland's Tranquillo Barnetta was the Austrians' chief tormentor, setting up all three of his side's goals.

The first came in only the second minute with Barnetta picking out a completely unmarked Marco Streller to calmly slot the ball past Alex Manninger.

Austria grabbed a surprise equaliser nine minutes later when some equally bad marking by the home side allowed Rene Aufhauser a free header.

Hakan Yakin restored Switzerland's supremacy nine minutes before halftime with a close-range finish following a dazzling run by Barnetta past three of Austrian defenders.

Ten minutes after the re-start, the Bayer Leverkusen midfielder showed his accuracy from the corner, picking out Streller again for the Basel striker to head in his second goal of the night.

Austria, like Switzerland, have already qualified automatically for Euro 2008 as tournament co-hosts.

On Wednesday, coach Josef Hickersberger's side are due to play a friendly against Ivory Coast, needing a win to prevent setting a new unwanted national record. Their last success was in November last year against Trinidad and Tobago.

Reuters DKS VP0225

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