Bosnia hold Dutch to goalless draw

Bosnia and Herzegovina put the disappointment of European Championship play-off elimination behind them to hold the Netherlands to a goalless draw in their Nations League A Group 1 match on Sunday.

The Bosnians had lost on penalty kicks to Northern Ireland on Thursday in the play-off semi-final.

But they will be lifted by a dogged performance against the disappointing Dutch, particularly after starting without several key players.

The result left the Dutch, who were runners-up in the inaugural Nations League, with four points from three games while Bosnia have two.

New coach Frank de Boer is still awaiting a first win after the Netherlands’ home loss to Mexico in a friendly last Wednesday.

They face Italy away on Wednesday.

The Dutch threatened early with defender Stefan de Vrij finding space in between the Bosnian defence in their penalty area.

But he got only a glancing touch to a good heading opportunity in the fifth minute.

Quincy Promes booted a shot well over the top in another half chance for the Dutch and De Vrij had another glancing header in a limp first half from both sides.

Bosnia came alive when 34-year-old skipper Edin Dzeko was sent on as a substitute for the last half hour, and he was immediately involved in several breakaways.

The best of them saw him set up Miralem Pjanic for a shot which forced Dutch goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen into his first save of the game, after 68 minutes.

That stirred De Boer into making changes, and two new players on the right hand side quickly lifted the Dutch out of their lethargy.

Frenkie de Jong got the visitors’ first shot on target in the 77th minute, turned away by Bosnia goalkeeper Ibrahim Sehic.

From the resultant corner-kick, Luuk de Jong watched in disbelief as his powerful header was also pushed around the post in a breathtaking save.

With five minutes left, Frenkie de Jong should have finished off a pull-back from Steven Berghuis but defender Darko Todorovic dived to block the goal-bound effort.

In stoppage time, Ryan Babel should have snatch a late winner but blasted wide from point-blank range to sum up a disappointing night for the Dutch.

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