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
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),