After 80 minutes of scoreless soccer, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Ireland traded late goals to settle for a 1-1 draw.
The Irish will be very pleased with the result, as they withstood heavy Bosnian possession to score a huge away goal.
The two sides will meet again on Monday at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, the same venue where Ireland stunned Germany with a 1-0 victory last month.
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Ireland was very shorthanded in the match, without captain and center-back John O'Shea from Sunderland and Stoke City’s Jonathan Walters, who were both serving suspensions for yellow-card accumulation. Southampton striker Shane Long missed out through injury, as did starting goalkeeper Shay Given.
Bosnia controlled possession in the first half but didn’t create much on goal, as Ireland was happy to sit back and soak up the pressure. After 45 minutes, the match was scoreless after a relatively uneventful opening frame.
When the teams came out for the second half, fog had overtaken the Belino Polje Stadium in Zenica, as you could barely make out the players on the pitch. The fog continued to get heavier throughout the half, but play continued on as the sides looked for a decisive goal.
Ireland rarely saw the ball in Bosnia’s half, but the hosts never challenged Darren Randolph in goal. The fog made things difficult, but Ireland stood strong defensively looking to hold on for a draw.
But then in the 82nd minute, Norwich City’s Robbie Brady gave Ireland the lead against all the run of play. Brady ran onto a long clearance from the goalkeeper, and cut past one defender onto his left foot before firing a shot into the bottom corner.
When it looked like Ireland was going to leave with a stunning win, Bosnia drew level just three minutes later. Ognjen Vranjes played a cross into the box to an unmarked Edin Dzeko, who tapped home for an easy equalizer.
Ireland held on through the final minutes to save the draw, a great result for Martin O’Neill’s men.