Michael O’Neill’s squad haven’t scored any goals in their last five away fixtures but are hoping to break the spell in tonight’s Nations League fixture against Bosnia Herzegovina.
Last weekend, Austria beat Northern Ireland 1-0 in Vienna. The first half was largely staid and unexceptional with Northern Ireland’s best chance coming just before the break, when Oliver Norwood sent a great diagonal pass into the area, Shane Ferguson tried to head ball into the back of the net, but it went over the bar. Austria really picked up pace in the second half, but the young Leeds keeper Peacock-Farrell made two great saves for Northern Ireland.
Steven Davies nearly broke the deadlock in the 54th minute when he took advantage of a poor clearance, but the ball just went wide of the far post. Austria scored the only goal of the game in the 71st minute when West Ham striker Arnautovic easily beat Paddy McNair in the box and found the back of the net. Northern Ireland missed a golden opportunity to equalise when Kyle Vassell failed to score from a rebound ball from point blank range after a fantastic header from Grigg that was blocked by Austrian keeper, Lindner.
Bosnia host Northern Ireland tonight at 7.45pm in Sarajevo and Michael O’Neill’s’ men know they can dominate the match however their last encounter saw them on the back foot when they were beaten 2-1 at home. Will Griggs scored the only goal for Northern Ireland that night in added time, but he will miss tonight’s fixture due to an hamstring strain he picked up in the Austria game on Friday night. Luckily striker Liam Boyce is available for selection for tonight’s match after sitting out last week’s game with a knee injury.
O’Neill spoke to the media ahead of tonight’s game saying; “Bosnia will look back at the match in Belfast and know that they will want to play better. They got out of jail with a bit of quality from Dzeko for their first goal and a mistake from us for the second. They’ve got a lot to play for in this match as a win would put them in an extremely strong position in the group, so we will have to be at our best. We will have to be resolute and make sure that we don’t get overpowered, as I felt we were at times against Austria. We need to make sure we are competitive, better in possession and look to be dangerous on the counter-attack.”