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Portugal 1-0 Bosnia: Wasteful Hosts Take Narrow Advantage To Zenica


Portugal dominated against Bosnia-Herzegovina in Lisbon, but ended up just taking a one goal lead in their World Cup play-off first leg encounter.

The much-vaunted creative engine of BiH was all but absent on the night, while the Andrades spurned a host of opportunities to extend their early lead.

Indeed, Bosnia could in fact claim that they could have equalised or even won, given that the woodwork felt the force of their efforts on three key occasions, while Portugal's many chances were almost universally put high and wide.

In any case, Bosnia now have every chance of pulling a goal back to equalise from Bruno Alves' goal when they contest the second leg in Zenica on Wednesday.

The Portuguese started strongly and had an early hit through Raul Meireles before Liedson fired the first of many chances wide of the target.

Deco's early yellow card belied a sense of nerves that did not really exist in the Portuguese midfield, which instead was dominant in the opening stages and gave plenty of scope for the wide players to attack.

Nani was the beneficiary of this solidity as he had the run of the right flank, and it was no surprise when it was from here that the opening goal came.

The Manchester United ace bobbled a shot across goalmouth, where nobody could reach it until it arrived at the far post, where Bruno Alves stooped to head home on the bounce.

Bosnia had a great chance to equalise as they forced the issue just before the break, and should in fact have levelled the score as Ibricic rose above Meireles to meet a corner and hit the bar.

Shortly after the break Portugal resumed their dominance, with Deco rolling back the years to set up Liedson for a fine chance. The striker beat the final defender with relative ease but then missed the chance to net.

Portugal had the bulk of the possession but in fact put themselves under pressure late on, Edin Dzeko having a rare chance that hit the side netting and Ibisevic failing to get the shot off when played through by the otherwise-disappointing Misimovic.

But for all the Portuguese side's possession they so nearly threw it away at the end. Edin Dzeko missed the crossbar with an effort from just inside the area and then Muslimovic somehow contrived to drill the ball off the post just one minute from time.

It might have been robbery, but it would not have been wholly inappropriate if the Bosnians had equalised, despite their inferiority on the night. They'll get their chance on Wednesday, while Portugal must work on finding the net with greater regularity if they are to tie it up early in Zenica.

Steve Michaels, Goal.com