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Bosnia-Herzegovina 2 Wales 0: Bale & Co qualify despite defeat

Wales qualified for Euro 2016 despite suffering a 2-0 defeat to Bosnia-Herzegovina at the Stadion Bilino Polje.

Chris Coleman’s side would have secured their place in France with a point, but Israel’s loss to Cyprus secured progression from Group B regardless, as well as moving Bosnia third in the pool.

Bosnia set about their task immediately and dominated possession from the early exchanges, though Edin Visca was unable to convert their first, and best, opening of the first half.

Wales threatened on the break but were unable to take the chances they forged, and it proved costly as substitute Filip Djuric headed Bosnia ahead with less than 20 minutes remaining.

Bosnia then made sure that their destiny was in their own hands going into their final fixture against Cyprus as Vedad Ibisevic turned home Djuric’s shot at the back post in the final minute of normal time.

With three points crucial to the ambitions of Bosnia, the game began in an open manner with Wales looking to play on the counter-attack.

A slip from Ben Davies gifted the hosts the opening chance with nine minutes played as Miralem Pjanic seized possession and slid a neat pass through to Visca, who dragged his shot from the right-hand side of the box narrowly wide of the far post.

As Bosnia assumed control of possession, Aaron Ramsey almost caught Asmir Begovic out of position with an ambitious 35-yard free-kick that flew narrowly wide of the target four minutes later.

The hosts were finding it difficult to break down Wales’ five-man defence and, six minutes later, Begovic became the first keeper to be forced into a save, but Bale’s skidding set-piece effort required little movement to deny.

In the last action of the first half, Hal Robson-Kanu released Ramsey in behind the defence, but the Arsenal man dallied on the ball and Neil Taylor was unable to slide home as Begovic smothered it.

Gaps continued to show in the Bosnia defence and one such opening presented Bale with a great chance to open the scoring 11 minutes after the restart. After being released by Joe Ledley, though, he skewed a wild shot wide of the near post.

It proved a costly miss in the 71st minute as Bosnia finally broke the deadlock.

Ibisevic stopped Ashley Williams from getting his head to Pjanic’s free-kick from deep, and substitute Djuric looped a header beyond Wayne Hennessey and into the back of the net.

Ramsey missed a chance to draw Wales level and Mehmed Bazdarevic’s men rounded off the scoring in the 90th minute as Ibisevic was in the right place at the right time to tap home from Djuric’s cross-goal shot following a corner.

Although Wales place in France was secured despite the defeat, they slipped to second as Belgium triumphed over Andorra 4-1. Bosnia, meanwhile, just need to match or better Israel’s result in their final outing against Cyprus.

Sat 10 Oct, 2015
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