Edin Dzeko’s late equaliser ensured that the Euro 2016 play-off tie between Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Republic of Ireland is evenly poised ahead on the second-leg in Dublin.
The game was in jeopardy of being abandoned just after half-time when the stadium became surrounded with severe fog, limiting visability.
Robbie Brady gave Ireland a surprise lead in the game after 81 minutes after he fired past a helpless Asmir Begovic following a long ball from the back.
Bosnia had been kept at bay all game prior to the goal, but four minutes later Dzeko popped up in the Republic’s penalty area for a tap-in.
Ireland’s aim would certainly have been to keep Bosnia quiet for as long as they could, and the hosts manage to create an opening for the first chance of the game after 11 minutes.
Creative-midfielder Miralem Pjanic could only fire over the crossbar from the edge of the area after taking Mensur Mujdza’s instinctive pull-back under control.
Pjanic almost turned provider three minutes later, but Edin Cocalic and Ervin Zukanovic got in each other’s way when the out-swinging corner picked out the latter.
Irish continue to keep Bosnia at bay
The Republic were doing well to keep the Balkan side at bay, but after Vedad Ibisevic fired into the side netting, the visitors started to then grown into the game.
Threatening the home sides half for the first time in the game on the half-hour mark, Bosnia looked uneasy at the back, but they did wipe out any hope of Brady crossing the ball into the box.
Bosnia had arguably the best chance of the half on 32 minutes, Ibisevic found the head of Zukanovic, but despite Senad Lulic almost getting a death touch, Darren Randolph saved well.
Chelsea goalkeeper Begovic had all but nothing to do for the entire first-half, as the Republic failed to record a shot on target, with the sides going in goalless at the break.
Edin Visca latched upon a through ball and after he spotted Dzeko in the box, he drilled a low cross, but Ciaran Clark was alert and diverted the ball to the goalkeeper.
Ireland had their first chance of the game on 55 minutes, Jeff Hendrick’s cushioned header sailed agonisingly over the bar and onto the roof of the Bosnian net.
Visibility became very difficult after the weather started to close in on the stadium, the mist threatened to cause the game to be abandoned, but referee Felix Brych persisted.
Randolph stood tall when a strike came in from the edge of the box and he managed to dive at the feet of Ibisevic to cut out any possible chance following Visca’s pulled effort.
The home side brought on forward Milan Duric on 73 minutes, as they hunted for an elusive goal in the game, but their opposition were firm and resilient in defence.
Brady fires Ireland ahead in the game
Against the run of play, the Irish managed to break the deadlock, with nine minutes to play, with arguably their first real chance of the game following a swift break from the back.
Brady picked up the long ball and after cutting back inside, he fired through the defenders legs, finding the bottom corner, leaving Begovic with no chance of saving.
The visitors never really looked like creating anything decisive, but they found themselves very close to taking a lead back to Dublin for the return leg on Monday.
Dzeko levels five minutes from time
However, the jubilation didn’t last long at all, four minutes to be precise, James McClean switched off and allowed substitute Ognjen Vranjes a free run down the flank.
Vranjes pulled the ball back across the box for the Bosnian record goalscorer Dzeko, who made no mistake with a tap-in from the centre of the six-yard box.
Ibisevic failed to hit the target with a later header and Ireland managed to hold on until the end with an away goal under their belts.