Ireland reaches Euro 2016 with 2-0 win over Bosnia

ASSOCIATED PRESS
DUBLIN
Published 17.11.2015 23:26

Ireland qualified for next year's European Championship on Monday as Jonathan Walters returned from suspension to score both goals in a 2-0 victory over Bosnia-Herzegovina and secure a 3-1 aggregate win in their playoff.

Walters converted a penalty in the 24th minute after Ervin Zukanovic was harshly adjudged to have handled Daryl Murphy's cross.

The Stoke forward all but confirmed Ireland's ticket to France with his second goal 20 minutes from full time to set off celebrations at the Aviva Stadium.

It will be Ireland's second consecutive European Championship, while Bosnia also lost in the playoffs for Euro 2012 and the 2010 World Cup.

There was a minute of silence before the match in honor of the 129 people killed and 350 wounded in Friday's attacks in Paris. Some sections of the Bosnia support did not observe the silence, which was further disturbed when they were jeered by other fans.

Bosnia had never qualified for the Euros while Ireland was unbeaten in its past six competitive matches at the Aviva Stadium and had the advantage of an away goal from the first leg.

However, Ireland was not content to sit back and defend and almost took an early lead but Bosnia goalkeeper Asmir Begovic got down well at his near post to block Robbie Brady's cross.

The game was much more flowing than the first leg and Ireland had to weather a sustained period of Bosnia pressure before breaking the deadlock.

Murphy crossed from the right side of the penalty area and the ball flashed off Zukanovic's arm from point-blank range, with the Bosnia defender clearly trying to pull his arm to his chest to avoid handling it.

Walters rolled the penalty into the bottom left corner, sending former Stoke teammate Begovic the wrong way.

Edin Dzeko almost immediately leveled as Bosnia threw men forward in search of the equalizer but shot into the sidenetting.

Bosnia came out with renewed intent in the second half and Haris Medunjanin's free kick was deflected just over the bar five minutes after the break. Moments later Edin Visca ran onto a through ball and cut back to Senad Lulic, who miskicked in front of goal.

Bosnia's hopes were all but ended in the 70th when Ognjen Vranjes could only help Brady's free kick toward the far post, where Walters was on hand to volley home.

Substitute Vedad Ibisevic hooked an effort off the bar from close range deep in stoppage time, moments before the referee blew the final whistle and the Aviva Stadium erupted.

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter