Bosnia-Herzegovina and Northern Ireland emerged triumphant from a competitive Group 7 in the UEFA European Under-19 Championship, the latter joining the section winners in the Elite round thanks to an emphatic victory in the final round of matches.
The opening game at the Grbavica Stadium in Sarajevo brought together Bulgaria and Northern Ireland, and the latter seemed to have secured victory thanks to Shane Ferguson's 62nd-minute strike, only for Kostadin Adzhov to level for Bulgaria two minutes into added time. It was an equally tight affair at the Asim Ferhatović-Hase Stadium, Ajdin Nuhić ultimately giving Bosnia-Herzegovina the win with the only goal of the game in the 21st minute.
On Matchday 2, Zoran Bubalo's Bosnia-Herzegovina side suffered the worst possible start as Zhivko Atanasov gave Bulgaria a second-minute lead, but swiftly rallied with Dalibor Pandža levelling 13 minutes later. This time, however, the late drama worked against Bulgaria as substitute Kenan Hadžić – who had only come on eleven minutes earlier – struck three minutes from time to take the mini-tournament hosts through. Northern Ireland, meanwhile, were frustrated for the second match running as Iceland restricted them to a goalless draw at the Grbavica Stadium.
Matchday 3 excitement
Kristinn Rúnar Jonsson's team kept alive their hopes of progress with a dramatic win against Bulgaria in their final fixture, twice coming from behind after Ventsislav Bengyuzov (18) and Blagoy Paskov (40) had put Bulgaria in front. Gudmundur Magnússon (23) and Pape Mamadou Faye (53) twice replied, leaving replacement Arnar Sveinn Geirsson to score the decisive goal with nine minutes left. That meant Northern Ireland had to overcome Bosnia-Herzegovina to stay in the competition and they did so in considerable style, making sure of second place with a 4-0 win thanks to goals from Liam Boyce (16), Shane Duffy (19, 49pen) and Ferguson (62).
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