Bosnia-Herzegovina 0 Portugal 0
Bosnia-Herzegovina failed to make the most of home advantage as they played out a dire goalless draw with Portugal in the first leg of their Euro 2012 play-off in Zenica.
The hosts consider the Bilino Polje their lucky stadium, but it was anything but lucky for the watching spectators who were subjected to an abject spectacle on a woefully inadequate pitch.
Possession was dominated by the visitors but Helder Postiga missed the best of what chances they created, while Cristiano Ronaldo again struggled to recreate his club form in a Portugal shirt.
Nonetheless, Paulo Bento’s side will be happier with the goalless draw and they will be firm favourites to progress when the two sides meet again in Lisbon on Tuesday.
In a scrappy start as the players got to grips with the challenging playing surface, Portugal were first to show after nine minutes when Raul Meireles fired in a shot from the edge of the box, bringing a smart save out of Asmir Begovic at his near post.
After 18 minutes the ball would not come down for Postiga, who sent the ball way over the bar from the edge of the area – and moments later he missed with an over-ambitious overhead kick.
Ronaldo cut a frustrated figure as Portugal dominated the half without creating much, and the Real Madrid man was reduced to snap-shots which did not trouble Begovic.
Ronaldo threw a lump of the uneven turf to the ground in irritation after sending an effort wide six minutes into the second period.
In the 58th minute, a Joao Moutinho free-kick broke in the box to Postiga, but he spurned an excellent opportunity when he sliced his shot wide.
Ronaldo weaved his way through the home defence after 64 minutes but his scuffed shot was easily saved by Begovic.
Edin Dzeko had a rare chance for Bosnia-Herzegovina in the 72nd minute, but his shot was always going just wide.
Substitute Vedad Ibisevic had a glorious chance moments later when Adnan Zahirovic’s cross reached him at the back post, but his control was dreadful and he then got in a tangle as he tried to shoot.
Begovic scrambled to save from Meireles, before Ibisevic missed another excellent opportunity at the other end, blazing his shot wildly over the bar when through on goal, though he had the pitch and a bobbling ball to cite in mitigation.
As the game ticked over into stoppage time a corner from Miguel Veloso hit Emir Spahic and deflected goalwards, but straight at Begovic.
In the last act of a game desperately lacking in quality, Dzeko saw a close-range shot well saved by Rui Patricio, but the whistle had already gone for offside.