Bosnia-Herzegovina 2 Northern Ireland 0: Dzeko double leaves O’Neill’s side on the brink

Bosnia-Herzegovina striker Edin Dzeko

Edin Dzeko scored twice as Bosnia-Herzegovina saw off a wasteful Northern Ireland 2-0 in the Nations League.

Northern Ireland are on the brink of relegation in the Nations League after Edin Dzeko’s double earned Bosnia-Herzegovina a 2-0 win in Sarajevo.

Having taken full advantage of Jamal Lewis’ calamitous error midway through the first half, Dzeko – who also had a seemingly legitimate goal disallowed – wrapped up the points 17 minutes from time.

The Roma striker’s clinical finishing came in stark contrast to Northern Ireland’s profligacy, with substitute Gavin Whyte passing up the best of some golden opportunities when he struck the woodwork from point-blank range.

One point for Austria in their two remaining games, which includes a trip to Windsor Park, will send Michael O’Neill’s side down to the third tier, while Bosnia-Herzegovina just need a draw to clinch promotion to League A.

 

George Saville should have done better from Steven Davis’ pinpoint cross after quarter of an hour and the midfielder went closer five minutes later when his half-volley rattled the right-hand upright.

Northern Ireland’s bad luck continued in the 27th minute, Edin Visca pouncing on Lewis’ slip to tee up Dzeko, who made no mistake with a tidy first-time finish.

Lewis could have been at fault for a second Bosnia-Herzegovina goal when he appeared to play Dzeko onside from Miralem Pjanic’s set-piece, but the assistant referee’s flag spared his blushes after a blistering volley from the striker.

Whyte looked set to haul Northern Ireland level in the 66th minute, only for the 22-year-old to somehow hit the post from six yards out with the goal gaping.

The visitors were made to pay when Dzeko beat the offside trap to curl beyond Bailey Peacock-Farrell.

The woodwork again denied Whyte in stoppage time as Northern Ireland failed to stop Bosnia-Herzegovina extending their 100 per cent Nations League record to three matches.

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