Bosnia-Herzegovina overcame the challenge of Belarus in the first match of
their double-header to leapfrog their opponents into second spot in Euro 2012
qualifying Group D.
Two goals in three first-half minutes from Sejad Salihovic and Haris Medunjanin
did the damage for the visitors, with the two teams set to meet again in Zenica
in four days time.
The hosts came into the contest two points better off than their opponents, but
it was Bosnia-Herzegovina who piled on the early pressure with Edin Dzeko firing
narrowly past the right post after six minutes.
The Manchester City striker saw another shot whistle past the upright soon
after as the visitors continued to assert their authority, although they had to
wait until the 24th minute to get on the scoreboard.
The Belarus defence looked vulnerable and Maksim Zhavnerchik provided further
evidence when he handled the ball in the area, with Salihovic despatching the
The hosts barely had time to register that goal when they found themselves two
down, Medunjanin making the most of a ball that came his way by finding the
bottom left corner from 20 yards.
Sergey Kornilenko tried to get Belarus into the match, but his left-footed shot
from near the penalty spot was palmed away by visiting goalkeeper Kenan
And Medunjanin came close to adding another for Bosnia-Herzegovina before the
interval with a dipping shot which just cleared the crossbar.
The hosts looked more threatening at the start of the second half with both
Timofey Kalachev and Igor Shitov creating chances.
Coach Bernd Stange then brought on midfielder Pavel Sitko and striker Andrei
Voronkov to try and get things moving for Belarus, while Sergey Kisliak fired
over the crossbar from 20 yards as they pushed forward in search of a goal.
Voronkov should have scored after 75 minutes when he got himself on the end of
Sitko's free-kick, but put his header wide from close range.
And with the team preoccupied with getting off the mark, Belarus almost
conceded again six minutes from time with Miralem Pjanic's strike forcing a good
save from Yuri Zhevnov.