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Baždarević hopeful after Džeko's salvage operation

Mehmed Baždarević admits Bosnia and Herzegovina had something else in mind from their first leg against the Republic of Ireland, but it remains all to play for in Dublin on Monday.

Highlights: Bosnia & Herzegovina 1-1 Republic of Ireland

"All is not lost," was the message from Bosnia and Herzegovina coach Mehmed Baždarević after his side scrambled a draw from a lacklustre first-leg performance against the Republic of Ireland.

The play-off encounter at the Bilino Polje stadium began well enough, with the home fans creating a frenetic pre-match atmosphere. They knew that nothing would be decided on Friday but a narrow win and preferably a clean sheet would stand them in good stead for Dublin on Monday.

The Dragons roared out of the blocks and created a few early chances, but as the evening fog slowly enveloped the ground they became more and more constricted. Robbie Brady scored a vital away goal for Ireland even if Edin Džeko's swift riposte, his eighth in UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying, kept the teams level.

Robbie Brady after making it 1-0
Robbie Brady after making it 1-0©Sportsfile

"We were preparing for something else," admitted Baždarević. "We didn't put on the kind of performance we aimed to. Džeko's goal hauled us back into it, and gives us a better chance for rematch. "We have the strength and quality, but we have to show much more of it to get a ticket to France.

Baždarević identified a need to retain possession better, and Muhamed Bešić's return from suspension should give him that. Perhaps the threat of a ban also hampered the five Bosnia and Herzegovina in Zenica, knowing that another yellow card would rule them out of the return.

As Baždarević points out, they cannot afford to keep anything in reserve when they walk out in Dublin on Monday evening.

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