Bosnia steps closer to World Cup with 4-1 win
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Edin Dzeko scored twice as Bosnia comfortably beat Liechtenstein 4-1 with a blitz of first-half goals Friday to stay ahead of group rival Greece and take a step closer to its first World Cup.
The Manchester City striker was picked out by Zvjezdan Misimovic in the 27th minute and headed across the goal to make it 1-0.
Liechtenstein goalkeeper Peter Jehle was beaten three more times in the next 12 minutes, with Misimovic and Vedad Ibisevic adding goals before Dzeko’s powerful volley took Bosnia’s tally to 29 goals in its last nine games.
Nicolas Hasler pulled a goal back for the visitors in a second half in Zenica, while successive efforts by Dzeko and Ibisevic were all stopped by Liechtenstein’s standout goalkeeper Peter Jehle.
“We just had to wait for that first goal and then the others came quickly. We ended the night with three points and no one getting a yellow card — that’s the important thing,” Bosnia coach Safet Susic said.
“I told the players at halftime that we’d done enough. ... Now everything is up to us. We’re not looking at what Greece is doing.”
The Bosnians travel to Lithuania for their final qualifier next Tuesday, while the Greeks host Liechtenstein.
Susic rested regular starters Senad Lulic, Haris Medunjanin, Miralem Pjanic in the second half.
Greece beat Slovakia 1-0 in Piraeus on an own goal from the visitors in the first half. Goalkeeper Jan Mucha carelessly controlled a pass backward from Martin Skrtel in the 44th minute and let the ball into the net.
“It was a stupid goal and I apologized to the players. Sometimes it will happen to the goalkeeper,” Mucha said.
In-form striker Costas Mitroglou missed two second-half chances for Greece which remained level with the Bosnians, with 22 points from nine matches but with a major goal scoring disadvantage in Group G.
The Slovaks picked five yellow cards during the bad-tempered game, while Skrtel scuffled with several Greek players as he walked off the pitch and was given a post-match red card by referee Deniz Aytekin.
“We could have had a better result and I would have preferred to get to the end of the match without the stress of waiting for another goal that never came,” Greece coach Fernando Santos said. “We will keep doing what we have to do and wait for the Bosnia result.”
Slovakia coach Jan Kozak said constant pressure from the Greeks decided the game.
“We knew they would press us and they did,” Kozak said. “Then the goal came and we couldn’t come back from that. It’s hard to score against the Greeks when they’re playing at home.”
Earlier Tuesday, Lithuania beat Baltic neighbor Latvia 2-0 in the group’s other match in Vilnius, on goals from Fedor Cernych and Saulius Mikoliunas.