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Bilbija secures vital Bosnia victory

Bosnia and Herzegovina 3-0 Belarus
Bosnia and Herzegovina kept up their play-off hopes as two goals from captain Nemanja Bilbija helped them defeat Belarus in Group 1.

Nemanja Bilbija scores Bosnia and Herzegovina's second goal against Belarus
Nemanja Bilbija scores Bosnia and Herzegovina's second goal against Belarus ©Fedja Krvavac

Bosnia and Herzegovina's hopes of reaching the UEFA European Under-21 Championship play-off received a shot in the arm as two second-half goals by Nemanja Bilbija and a last-minute effort by Milan Djurić took them three points clear of their nearest rivals in second place.

The hosts started as they meant to go on, Muhamed Bešić putting a chance wide with barely four minutes on the clock and Edin Višća curling a free-kick over soon after. Miroslav Stevanović and Benjamin Čolić also came close in a frenetic opening as Vlado Jagodić's charges shot out of the blocks.

Though Dmitri Baga looked lively for Belarus, forcing Semir Bukvić into two tidy saves, the home side deservedly took the lead when Bilbija connected with Višća's corner seven minutes after half-time. The Bosnian captain then doubled his tally from the penalty spot on 76 minutes after Kirill Aleksiyan felled Stevanović in the area.

The match was put beyond doubt when Djurić applied the coup de grace in the dying seconds, taking Bosnia and Herzegovina up to second place in Group 1, three points clear of their defeated opponents, and Greece,  the latter having played a game more.