Football: Late Dzeko goal saves Bosnia in Euro 2016 play-off first leg with Ireland

Edin Dzeko (right) of Bosnia-Herzegovina fights for the ball with Richard Keogh (left) of Ireland.
Edin Dzeko (right) of Bosnia-Herzegovina fights for the ball with Richard Keogh (left) of Ireland.PHOTO: EPA

(REUTERS) - A late goal by striker Edin Dzeko rescued a 1-1 draw for Bosnia after the first leg of their Euro 2016 play-off with Ireland was hampered by poor visibility on Friday.

The Irish took the lead through midfielder Robbie Brady, after thick fog had descended on the Bilino Polje stadium, before Dzeko replied with a neat finish.

The players were barely visible throughout the second-half of a disjointed match during which the home side had the upper hand but fell behind against the run of play. "It was difficult to relay instructions to the players in the second-half because we could barely see anything at all from the dugout," Bosnia coach Mehmed Bazdarevic told BHT television. "We are a bit disappointed with the result but I have to admit that we didn't play well, perhaps because we weren't composed enough.

Ireland defender Ciaran Clark told Sky Sports: "It was a good night's work, as a team, it was a good performance. "We'll concentrate and try to get fit for (the return leg on) Monday night. It's going to be a tough game, we've got the away goal but we've got to go out there as if it's 0-0 again." The game was played under tight security, amid fears of crowd trouble with several hundred Irish fans in the stadium, but it was an incident-free match after the home supporters had applauded the visiting team's national anthem.

Bosnia dominated the opening half as winger Edin Visca and defender Mensur Mujdza found space to operate on the right flank against an Irish team missing several key players through injury and suspension.

Ibisevic missed the best chance in the 22nd minute when he volleyed wide while Ireland keeper Darren Randolph saved a header from Ervin Zukanovic.

Senad Lulic then missed a sitter on the hour, allowing Randolph to parry a feeble close-range effort after a ricochet from a poor clearance fell for the left winger.

With the fog getting thicker, Brady stunned the home crowd with a darting solo run and a clinical strike with eight minutes to go, though Dzeko grabbed a draw three minutes later after substitute Ognjen Vranjes found Bosnia's top scorer in the heart of the penalty box.

Ireland need only a goalless draw in the return leg in Dublin to reach next year's tournament in France, but Bazdarevic was confident Bosnia still had a good chance of progressing. "It's not a good result but we are hopeful we can swing the tie our way and I still believe we are the better team," said the former Yugoslavia midfielder. "However, we have to improve our final pass and take our chances because it's going to be a very difficult task."