After having opened their EURO 2020 qualifying campaign with a 2-1 victory over Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina took on Greece in the former’s preferred home stadium in Zenica on Tuesday evening.
Despite the fact that this was only matchday two of ten in the group stage of qualifying, it was already a six-pointer, because both teams are expected to compete for direct qualification from the section.
The two teams have faced each other in recent qualifying campaigns, namely for the FIFA World Cups of 2014 and 2018. Their matches were generally tightly fought affairs, usually ending in draws.
This time, it was a game of two very different halves. In the first forty-five-minute period, Bosnia and Herzegovina clearly dominated. They seemed determined from the kickoff to get off to a good start. They succeeded in that aim, bringing the passionate crowd in Zenica’s Bilino Polje to its feet.
Edin Višća gave the home side a 1-0 lead in the tenth minute, which Miralem Pjanić promptly doubled five minutes later with a free kick strike. Even after that, the Bosnians remained positive, but were unable to add to their advantage.
Then in the second half not much happened until the 64th minute, when Greece was given a penalty, which Kostas Fortounis converted to make it 2-1. Only a minute later, Pjanić was sent-off for a bad foul on naturalized Greek star Zeca.
The goal and the red card turned the encounter on its head. From then on, only Greece was playing. The away team which gained its fame in the international game for its defensive style over the last decade and a half, was only pushing forward from then on.
Bosnia was quite lucky in fact to hold out until the 85th minute, when substitute Dimitris Kolovos scored the 2-2 equalizer, which was the final score.
Despite the fact that the home team largely brought its problems on itself, Greece deserves credit for never giving up.