Belfast Telegraph

Dominant Northern Ireland lose out to Bosnia and Herzegovinia despite late Grigg strike

Northern Ireland 1-2 Bosnia and Herzegovinia

By Gareth Hanna

Northern Ireland have lost their first UEFA Nations League match 2-1 at home to Bosnia and Herzegovinia.

Michael O'Neill's men totally dominated the game from start to finish but two lapses let the visitors in while the B&H defence prove stout enough to see out success despite Will Grigg's injury time consolation.

The stats show that Northern Ireland had a total of 24 shots on goal, their visitors just five. NI forced 18 corners to zero from the away side and enjoyed 67% of possession.

But it's goals that matter and Haris Duljevic got the first on 36 minutes, tapping home a cross from the classy Edin Dzeko with competitive-debutant keeper Bailey Peacock Farrell helpless.

The Leeds stopper was again exposed on 64, when Craig Cathcart's slack header back allowed Elvis Saric to nip in, nick the ball through the keeper's legs and convert the second.

Northern Ireland had created chance after chance at the opposite end, after they were denied a first minute penalty. George Saville looked to be tripped but the referee waved play on.

A lively Niall McGinn soon tested the keeper and Saville came close but it was in the second period that NI really carved out the quality chances. First Stuart Dallas scuffed a volley that was tipped over, then Kyle Lafferty's back-post shot was denied well by Ibrahim Sehic, who also saved from substitute Liam Boyce one-on-one.

He couldn't stop Grigg netting Liam Boyce's cross in injury time and the Wigan forward even came inches from stretching enough to convert an even later leveller when competitive-debutant Jamal Lewis headed the ball down in the area.

So close.

Here's the game as it happened:

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