Nations League round-up: Northern Ireland face drop after Dzeko double

first_imgNorthern Ireland were shown the value of clinical finishing as the Bosnia-Herzegovina captain, Edin Dzeko, condemned them to a third successive Nations League defeat in a match during which they hit the post three times. Switzerland, who thumped Iceland 6-0 in September, have six points from three games, level with the group leaders Belgium who have a game in hand. Iceland have lost all three games and will finish bottom of the section. Northern Ireland Pinterest Share via Email Facebook news Share on Messenger Share on WhatsApp They were made to pay moments later. Dzeko found himself in acres of space to collect Pjanic’s cross and place his finish into the far corner of the goal. When Whyte struck the post again in the last minute, it summed up their evening.In Reykjavik Switzerland kept their Nations League semi-final hopes alive and sent Iceland down into the second tier with a 2-1 win in their League A Group Two match. Haris Seferovic and Michael Lang scored the Swiss goals in the second half while the debutant goalkeeper Yvon Mvogo made three key saves for the visitors. Share on Pinterest Switzerland Read more Pinterest Nations League Twitter Northern Ireland were grateful to go in at half-time only 1-0 down. Whyte replaced the subdued Norwood just before the hour but what could have been the perfect instant impact was instead a shocking miss.The Oxford man rose to meet Stuart Dallas’s cross at the far post and, although his effort was saved by Sehic, the ball fell for him to apply what looked an easy finish. Instead he fired on to a post from point-blank range. With Xherdan Shaqiri (right) on the ground, Michael Lang sidefoots what proves to be the winner for Switzerland against Iceland. Photograph: Hanna Andresdottir/EPA Facebook Read more Share on Facebook Read more Northern Ireland’s Corry Evans reacts after a missed chance in Sarajevo. Photograph: Tim Goode/PA The Fiver: sign up and get our daily football email. Wales to go on the offensive in Dublin without Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey Bosnia-Herzegovina Iceland Dzeko scored in each half on the ground where he began his professional career but Northern Ireland will rue a shocking miss from Gavin Whyte and an early George Saville effort that came back off the frame of the goal.The 2-0 defeat leaves Northern Ireland on the brink of relegation to League C, with their fate now out of their hands. “You are punished for a mistake,” their manager, Michael O’Neill, told Sky Sports. A young player makes the wrong decision in the wrong area of the pitch and that’s why Dzeko is the player that he is, he punishes you. We had great chances to go level and we don’t take them. In the end we are punished again when we are pushing forward.The Bosnia coach, Robert Prosinecki, admitted his team had to ride their luck at times. “We expected a very hard match,” he said. “We were facing Northern Ireland, who are a brilliant team and they have shown this quality this evening. They can play with anyone at any level. They had a lot of opportunities and we have seen the post being hit several times.” Raheem Sterling’s double inspires England to stunning victory in Spain Things might have been different here if just one of Northern Ireland’s early chances had fallen to a strike. Instead Saville got all three. There was only one minute on the clock when Steven Davis played him in on the left but Saville’s rising shot went narrowly over. The pair linked up again in the 14th minute, with Davis crossing from the right, but Saville could not make proper contact. The best chance came after 20 minutes when Jamal Lewis picked out Saville from the left and his first-time shot beat Ibrahim Sehic only to come back off a post.Between times Dzeko had hit a half-volley just over after controlling Miralem Pjanic’s raking ball with his shoulder and it was the Roma striker who opened the scoring in the 27th minute. Lewis slipped inside the area to hand possession to Edin Visca and he played in Dzeko to apply a calm finish that left Bailey Peacock-Farrell with no chance. Topics Share on LinkedIn League C Group Two saw Estonia and Hungary play out a six-goal thriller in Tallinn. The home side led three times through Slim Luts, a Mate Patkai own goal and a 79th minute Henri Anier strike, but Dominik Nagy and two goals from the striker Adam Szalai pulled their visitors level.The result did neither side much good because Finland maintained their flawless start in the same group with an impressive 2-0 win over Greece. Pyry Soiri and Dundee’s Glen Kamara were on target, leaving the Finns all but certain to earn promotion.Belarus dropped points in League D Group 2 with a goalless home draw over Moldova. It allowed Luxembourg, 3-0 winners over San Marino thanks to goals by David Turpel, Daniel Sinani and Vincent Thill, to leapfrog them into top spot. If Luxembourg beat the Belarusians at home next month, they will both win the group and enter a play-off to reach Euro 2020. Twitter Luis Enrique sees Spain’s optimism washed away in the Seville rain Share on Twitter Reuse this contentlast_img

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