Ireland 'won't sit back' in second leg

Robbie Brady lights up Ireland's mood with his goal late in the play-off game, only for Edin Dzeko to equalise three minutes later for Bosnia in the first leg affected by fog.
Robbie Brady lights up Ireland's mood with his goal late in the play-off game, only for Edin Dzeko to equalise three minutes later for Bosnia in the first leg affected by fog.PHOTO: ACTION IMAGES

O'Neill feels Bosnia are capable of scoring in Dublin after first match finishes 1-1 in foggy conditions

ZENICA (Bosnia and Herzegovina) • Ireland manager Martin O'Neill has vowed that his side will go for a win in tomorrow's Euro 2016 play-off second leg against Bosnia-Herzegovina after netting a crucial away goal on Friday.

Robbie Brady's 82nd-minute strike in Zenica was cancelled out by Edin Dzeko's sharp finish three minutes later to share the spoils in the fog-covered stadium.

It leaves the tie on a knife edge ahead of the clash at Dublin's Lansdowne Road.

But O'Neill has no intention of playing for a goalless draw that would send his side to France.

"The onus is on us now, we have to try and win as I feel Bosnia are capable of scoring a goal and therefore our mindset should be to try and win the game," he said.

"I don't think we can sit (back). We were away against a good Bosnia side and the crowd but we will attempt to attack more in the second game.

"I would have taken 1-1 before, the away goal helps, but it can be wiped out in any given minute.

"I don't think the advantage is with us as Bosnia are capable of scoring a goal."

As the weather conditions deteriorated after the restart, O'Neill said he was concerned the game could have been called off.

He admitted he barely saw Brady's goal - one of just two shots on target that the visitors registered on the night.

But he saw enough to praise his men's fighting spirit on a night when the hosts displayed most of the attacking intent.

"We might be lacking certain things but in terms of desire and wanting to go out and compete, that sort of performance tonight epitomised that," added O'Neill.

He was without Shay Given, John O'Shea, Jon Walters, Shane Long and David Meyler through a combination of injuries and suspensions.

"I thought they were really excellent. They had a very tough job all evening against top quality players and they were outstanding for us.

"(Ciaran) Clark was absolutely rock-solid and (Richard) Keogh had a very strong game."

He is optimistic veteran defender O'Shea will be fit to return to the starting line-up tomorrow. He added that Southampton striker Long had not yet ruled himself out.

Bosnia boss Mehmed Bazdarevic claimed his side were deserted by lady luck on the night - with poor finishing and worse weather to blame for the draw.

"We're a little disappointed, I think we showed lots of desire," he said. "We started well but we could not score.

"The result is unfavourable but the chances are still there.

"The fog was an aggravating factor in our selection. We saw almost nothing from the sidelines so it was difficult to give some advice.

"I'm not looking for any excuses, though, we had more to give.

"We had no luck in the first half and if we had scored, it would be a different second match.

"It did not work as intended but all is not lost. We have the strength and quality of the fight to win the second leg."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 15, 2015, with the headline 'IRELAND 'WON'T SIT BACK' IN SECOND LEG'. Print Edition | Subscribe