Dzeko provides assist on record-equalling appearance

Robert Prosinecki claimed a victory in his first competitive game in charge of Bosnia-Herzegovina, for whom Edin Dzeko won a 94th cap.

Bosnia-Herzegovina's players celebrate Elvis Saric's goal   -  Getty Images

Edin Dzeko marked his record-equalling 94th Bosnia-Herzegovina cap with an assist in his country's 2-1 victory over Northern Ireland in its Nations League opener.

The 32-year-old Roma striker, who has now made as many international appearances as Emir Spahic, provided the cross that Haris Duljevic turned home nine minutes before the break.

Northern Ireland goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell was then involved in a second-half mix up with Watford defender Craig Cathcart on his first international start, which Elvis Saric capitalised on to add a second in the 64th minute.

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Will Grigg grabbed a stoppage-time consolation for the host, but it was not enough to deny ex-Real Madrid and Barcelona midfielder Robert Prosinecki a victory in his first competitive game as Bosnia-Herzegovina's coach.

Ten months after a controversial penalty in a playoff against Switzerland at Windsor Park ultimately cost it a World Cup place, Northern Ireland was denied a spot-kick of its own inside 40 seconds when Ervin Zukanovic appeared to trip George Saville.

That came during a bright Northern Irish start which ended with Duljevic ghosting past two defenders to convert Dzeko's left-wing cross.

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Northern Ireland continued to push after the break, with Ibrahim Sehic denying Stuart Dallas and then making a point-blank save from Kyle Lafferty.

Despite the host's pressure, it was Prosinecki's side that grabbed the next goal when Cathcart's header back to Peacock-Farrell failed to reach its intended target before Saric nipped in and made it 2-0.

Grigg's neat finish halved the deficit in the 93rd minute, but when presented with a chance to snatch a draw, the substitute fluffed his lines, leaving Michael O'Neill's side to rue its wasted opportunities.

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What it means: Prosinecki up and running

Bosnia-Herzegovina has only ever reached a major tournament in its entire history, but with players like Dzeko and Juventus' Miralem Pjanic in their squad, it is hopeful that it can reach Euro 2020. Prosinecki was in charge of an Azerbaijan team that lost twice to Northern Ireland in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, but he exacted a modicum of revenge.

Pat on the back: Duljevic the difference maker

Duljevic had never scored for his country before arriving at Windsor Park, but he produced a clever run and finish for the first goal. And, he nearly scored a second late on too, only to be denied by the woodwork.

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Boot up the backside: Cathcart culpable

Northern Ireland defender Cathcart has been part of a strong start to the season for club side Watford, yet he had an afternoon to forget. He should have dealt with Dzeko's near-post cross for the Bosnians' first goal then let Saric in with a weak header back to his keeper.

What's next

Northern Ireland faces Israel in a friendly in Belfast on Tuesday, while Bosnia-Herzegovina meets Austria, the other team in its Nations League group, at home on the same day.