Match report and free highlights as Liam Boyce scores winning penalty in Sarajevo; Niall McGinn second-half equaliser forced extra-time and penalties; Slovakia stand between Northern Ireland and place at Euro 2021
Thursday 8 October 2020 23:10, UK
Northern Ireland will face Slovakia for a place at Euro 2021 after beating Bosnia and Herzegovina 4-3 in their first-ever penalty shootout following a 1-1 draw in Sarajevo.
Naill McGinn’s second-half strike cancelled out Rade Krunic’s opener to force extra-time and then the first competitive shootout for Ian Baraclough’s side.
Both teams scored their first spot-kicks before Bailey Peacock-Farrell saved from Haris Hajradinovic, and Dino Hotic struck the crossbar, as Bosnia blinked first in the shootout.
George Saville blazed over but Northern Ireland held on to their advantage as Liam Boyce converted the crucial spot-kick to set up a winner-takes-all final with Slovakia on November 12.
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How Northern Ireland won Sarajevo shootout
Bosnia, buoyed by almost 2000 supporters in attendance, dominated the early stages and had fortune on their side as their forced the early breakthrough.
An unfortunate slip from Jonny Evans allowed full-back Branimir Cipetic to dart to the byline and cut the ball back to the unmarked Krunic, whose low drive deflected in off Peacock-Farrell.
The setback kicked Northern Ireland into gear, and they came agonisingly close to an instant equaliser. Josh Magennis’ bullet header from Corry Evans’ cross drew a stunning save from Ibrahim Sehic at point-blank range before Bosnia scrambled the ball to safety.
The mesmeric Miralem Pjanic continued to dictate the pace of the game and nearly doubled the hosts’ lead after Stuart Dallas’ wayward pass on 24 minutes, but his first-time effort whistled inches wide.
Peacock-Farrell prevented Krunic from doubling his tally on 34 minutes before the final chance of the half fell Northern Ireland’s way, but having brought Paddy McNair’s header back across goal under control, George Saville’s drive deflected over.
Northern Ireland transferred their positive spell into the second period and got their rewards within eight minutes of the restart as McGinn harassed Bosnia defenders Branimir Cipetic and Sinisa Sanicanin, won the ball on the edge of the box and rifled the equaliser past Sehic.
Paddy McNair nearly added a quick-fire second but Sead Kolasinac managed to scramble the ball clear from the Bosnia goalmouth.
Northern Ireland’s equaliser sparked a flurry of activity at both ends, with Saville and Jamal Lewis going close and Pjanic rattling the crossbar with a free-kick.
But with no further goals, Northern Ireland went into extra-time for the first time since 1958, where substitute Jordan Jones and Edin Visca drew saves from Peacock-Farrell and Sehic at either end before the visitors came through the lottery of penalties on top.
Opta stats – Northern Ireland savour shootout
- Northern Ireland have progressed in a competition via a penalty shootout for the first time, only once previously have they gone beyond 90 minutes – winning 2-1 in June 1958 against Czechoslovakia.
- Bosnia have never progressed in a play-off tie in qualifying for a major tournament in four attempts, losing in November 2009 vs Portugal (0-2 aggregate), November 2011 vs Portugal (2-6 aggregate) and November 2015 vs Republic of Ireland (1-3 aggregate) as well as tonight.
- Northern Ireland have scored in seven successive away games for the first time since November 1964 (7 games).
- Niall McGinn scored his first away goal for Northern Ireland since September 2014 (against Hungary). He has scored twice in his last four starts for his country, more than he managed in his previous 27 such games combined (1 goal).
- Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Rade Krunic has scored two goals in his four starts in Euro 2020 qualifying, netting with the first shot on target in today’s game.
- Steven Davis made his 120th appearance for the Northern Ireland senior team, becoming the outright most capped player for his country, moving past Pat Jennings (119).
Northern Ireland host Austria in Nations League Group B1 on Sunday at 7.45pm – live on Sky Sports Football. Bosnia host the Netherlands in Nations League Group A1 on Sunday at 5pm – live on Sky Sports Football red button.
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