Dzeko strikes first as Bosnia end on winning note
- 25 June 2014 19:20
- Posted by @porter_mcfc
Edin Dzeko grabbed his first World Cup goal as Bosnia signed off in style with victory over Iran.
The City striker had a legitimate goal against Nigeria ruled out by the linesman, but opened his account at the third time of asking to set his country on the way to their first points of the competition.
Already eliminated after the cruel loss to the Super Eagles last time out, Bosnia’s victory ensured they leapfrogged Iran to finish third in the group and give their passionate fans a chance to enjoy themselves before the flights home.
Meanwhile, Iran were seeking the victory would see them through to the knockout stages at the expense of Nigeria, as long as Argentina secured all three points in Group F’s other encounter.
As his country’s talisman, Dzeko started all three of Bosnia’s group games, and didn’t take a long to make an impact in Salvador – his header was gratefully seized by the strong hands of the Iranian keeper with less than 10 minutes played.
Bosnia were keen to attack but often found themselves frustrated by a stubborn and solid Iranian defence that had proved extremely well-organised in the previous two matches.
However, just 14 minutes later they found their blockades breached by the Bosnian diamond, who unleashed a low, well-drilled shot from just outside the box that floated into the furthest corner of the net for his 36th international goal.
Iran hit the crossbar just minutes later, but largely struggled in the final third as Bosnia sought to capitalise on their lead.
The best chance for a second before the break was created by Dzeko, who provided a perfectly placed throughball for Vrsajevic on the right hand side, but his compatriot steered his shot the wrong side of the post when he might have cut the ball back.
Iran dominated the early stages of the second period, but continued to fire blanks as they searched for their first goal of the tournament - their best chance fell to Dejagah, who was blown offside after skewing his shot wide.
Instead it was Bosnia who doubled their lead - Dzeko fed Pjanic who slotted home with the most confident of finishes.
Reza Ghoochannejhad gave the Iranians late hope with a tap in on 80 minutes, but any lingering dreams of a round of 16 place were extinguished within 60 seconds. Avdiva Vrsajevic made no mistake this time as he fired home from the right hand side of the box to secure a cherished victory for Bosnia.
Dzeko's side will be disappointed at being eliminated at this early stage, but ended their maiden World Cup on a high with a thoroughly deserved victory.