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EC Qualification

  • November 11, 2011
  • • 2:00 PM
  • • Stadion Bilino Polje, Zenica
  • Referee: H. Webb
  • • Attendance: 12352
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Bosnia & Herzegovina 0-0 Portugal: Ibisevic wasteful for hosts as playoff clash ends in stalemate

Neither side managed to dazzle in a fairly balanced game in which both teams failed to take their chances

Bosnia & Herzegovina and Portugal had to settle for a 0-0 draw in the first leg of the Euro 2012 qualification playoff in what was an unimpressive game at Bilino Polje.

There were plenty of chances throughout the match, but both teams fell victims to criminal inefficiency in front of goal.

The game got off to a sluggish start, but it was Portugal which was seemingly in control in the early minutes. The first pop on goal came from Raul Mereles, who saw a volley from outside the box saved in the lower left corner after a great team move involving Nani and Helder Postiga.

The Navigators had no trouble containing the timid hosts, who went through most of the first half without taking a single shot. Postiga was presented with two great chances just before the 20-minute mark, but first blasted over the bar, and then failed in an attempt of a bicycle kick.

Portugal continued to press cautiously, but was struggling to string good team moves in front of Asmir Begovic. Cristiano Ronaldo was growing more and more into the game and nearly scored the opener in the 25th minute, when he saw a finish from inside the box blocked by Sanel Jahic.

Not much changed after the break as Portugal continued to be the more dangerous of the two teams, while Bosnia & Herzegovina was struggling to be efficient in the final third.

Ronaldo was presented the best chance of the game in the 52nd minute, when he failed to find the target with only Begovic to beat after he was released by Nani with a sublime back-heel pass, which eliminated no less than three players.

Postiga was next in line to frustrate Portugal's fans moments later, when he failed to put away a simple chance after Adnan Zahirovic gifted the ball to the striker near the penalty spot, following a free kick by Joao Moutinho.

Shortly after the hour-mark, Ronaldo saw a shot from inside the box blocked, but it was clear to everyone that Portugal was dropping down a gear. This allowed the hosts to take the initiative and try to make a breakthrough late in the game.

Substitute Vedad Ibisevic was the main culprit for Bosnia & Herzegovina as in the space of seven minutes from the 73rd to the 80th minute he missed three great chances.

First he failed to shoot under no pressure at all from inside the box, later sent a timid shot with only Rui Patricio to beat, and then capped off his awful showing with a horrible blast over when clean through on goal.

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