Bosnia and Herzegovina took on Northern Ireland in Sarajevo for a UEFA Nations League clash on Monday night.
The Dragons had home field advantage (despite not playing in their favored stadium in Zenica), as well as the confidence that comes with having won both of their opening matches in the group on their side.
The Northern Irish visitors had lost their opening two games in the three-team League B group that also includes Austria.
The away team was very much in the encounter, having created some good chances without taking them.
Then came the Bosnian punishment, that the Northern Irish brought on themselves to a large degree, when Jamal Lewis stumbled in a defensive duel and the Dragons’ talismanic striker Edin Džeko was able to give Bosnia and Herzegovina the 1-0 lead, more than halfway through the first forty-five minutes.
The goal gave the home side relative control of the match. Despite the fact that the visiting team still created chances, hitting the post of the Bosnian goal on no less than three occasions, the Northern Irish team almost never gave the Dragons’ keeper any serious work to do.
That keeper by the way was Ibrahim Šehić, despite the fact that the experienced Asmir Begović was ready on the bench.
New coach Robert Prosinečki and his staff must see something in the former, that his predecessors have overlooked.
Toward the end of the game, Džeko scored yet again for Bosnia to give them the deserved 2-0 victory.
The win keeps their 100% record going, putting them at most a point away from promotion to League A.
Northern Ireland on the other hand, now needs a miracle to avoid relegation to League C.
From a Bosnian perspective, it was a victory of a combination of skill, luck, efficiency and tactical discipline.