Bosnia and Portugal draw 0-0 in Euro 2012 playoff

Bosnia-Herzegovina held Portugal to a 0-0 draw Friday, leaving

their European Championship playoff wide open ahead of next week’s

return leg in Lisbon.

In a game that produced few goalscoring chances, Portugal had

the best of them although Cristiano Ronaldo squandered several


Bosnia was better in the second half, and came close to breaking

the deadlock 10 minutes from the end through Edin Dzeko.

”It’s a good result but it’s dangerous over two legs because we

didn’t get the away win we deserved,” Portugal coach Paulo Bento


Portugal, a Euro 2004 finalist and Euro 2000 semifinalist, has

shown patchy form in its effort to reach next year’s event.

”All teams go through rough patches. It’s all about cycles,”

Ronaldo said. ”We’ll be favorites to win on our home turf.”

Bosnia, aiming to qualify for its first major international

tournament, is unbeaten in its last seven games and has conceded

only one goal during that run. It was missing three regular

defenders through injury and suspension against the favored


The countries meet again in Lisbon on Tuesday for the


”We can be satisfied,” Bosnia midfielder Zvjezdan Misimovic

said. ”It could have been better but we knew from the beginning

that this will be decided in Lisbon.”

The Portuguese won here 1-0 in a playoff for the 2010 World Cup,

when it went through 2-0 on aggregate. Friday’s game was no easier

for the Portuguese than the 2009 encounter, especially on a lumpy

pitch that led Portugal to lodge an official protest.

Portugal’s first fluent move came in the ninth minute. Nani

crossed from the right flank to the left where Ronaldo headed down

on the edge of the penalty area for Raul Meireles to test Asmir

Begovic with a volley.

In a similar move 10 minutes later, Joao Moutinho set up striker

Helder Postiga who skewed his shot.

The Portuguese couldn’t come up with more because they attacked

with long downfield passes instead of advancing with the short

passing game that has served them so well.

Bosnia was limited up front. The home team repeatedly sought out

Dzeko, but it mishit too many passes and the forward was closely

marked by Pepe in a standout perfomance.

Senad Lulic delivered Bosnia’s first shot on goal – and its only

one in the first half – in the 35th minute.

”They really gave us a hard time,” Bosnia coach Safet Susic

said. ”This result is giving us a chance. I am an optimist.”

Ronaldo should have done better when he led a break in the 15th,

but he held on to the ball too long and then shot weakly.

Portugal goalkeeper Rui Patricio fumbled a cross on the halfhour

but recovered before Adnan Zahirovic could pounce.

Ronaldo had a clear chance in the 50th when he received the ball

unmarked on the left side of the Bosnia area before hitting his

shot wide.

Bosnia had to wait until the 72nd for its second shot of the

game when Dzeko tried his luck from 30 meters out.

Two minutes later Postiga against missed the target from short

range, and then Ronaldo failed to capitalize on another break.

Senijad Ibricic’s misdirected shot when he was unmarked at back

post heralded a tense final 15 minutes that brought Bosnia’s best

chance as Dzeko went one-on-one with Patricio but struck his shot




Bosnia: Asmir Begovic; Senad Lulic, Sanel Jahic, Emir Spahic,

Sejad Salihovic (Vedad Ibisevic 68th); Elvir Rahimic, Haris

Medunjanin (Darko Maletic 68th), Miralem Pjanic, Zvjezdan Misimovic

(Senijad Ibricic 86th); Edin Dzeko, Adnan Zahirovic.

Portugal: Rui Patricio, Joao Pereira, Pepe, Bruno Alves, Fabio

Coentrao; Miguel Veloso, Joao Moutinho, Raul Meireles (Ruben Micael

82nd); Cristiano Ronaldo, Helder Postiga (Hugo Almeida 65th),