It was always seen as just a training match with a nice spectacle expected with the national team coming to town for the first time ever in the city of Gradacac, but the game itself was marred by the scenes that have taken place in the country over the past week with mass flooding and one of the biggest natural disasters in Europe hitting the region in over a century. The result itself was never a primary priority for either side, but the game gained more importance with the recent events and it served as an opportunity to earn extra funds for the flood relief, almost as if it was a humanitarian football match like has been seen in the past with organizations scheduling such games for charitable reasons. Before the match kicked off, there was a big banner displayed by both teams with the two sets of players extending their support for those currently struggling in need in Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia. After that kind tribute, the match was ready to begin and to no one’s surprise, the Banja Ilidza stadium was almost packed as the national team’s first ever appearance on the ground was set to kick off.
The early proceedings of the game actually saw the youngsters doing all the running and creating the first openings which impressed everyone in the stadium who applauded their efforts in trying to step up on such an occasion where of course the senior national team manager Safet Susic was watching and keeping a close eye on what he has to choose from when it comes to domestic-based players. Despite looking every bit as equal as their superiors in the first 25 minutes, it was eventually quality and class that shone through when an unmarked Sejad Salihovic tapped in Vedad Ibisevic’s low cross just past the half hour mark to give the ‘A’ team the lead.
Ten minutes later and one became two as a short corner routine failed to work out for the youngsters and they were punished on the counter after Vedad Ibisevic, who’s had such a lean time for goals in 2014 at club level with Stuttgart, easily finished off a move that he started after being teed up by Zvjezdan Misimovic. That was the scoreline at halftime but it didn’t take long after the restart before the public got to see another goal when Edin Visca easily finished a very good dribbling move from another substitute, Izet Hajrovic, in the 53rd minute. Then in the 67th minute, Hajrovic was again at the heart of the move sending a cross in for Ibisevic, who managed to bundle the ball into the net after seeing his initial header saved.
The icing on the cake came four minutes from time when Visca scored the goal of the match, firing in low into the back of the net from 20 yards out to grab his second of the match. 5-0 and the day was over. All in all, a simple day at the office for the senior team but the BPL youngsters were far from incapable, showing some very good moves and moments of quality which impressed even Susic who after the game said that the future is bright for Bosnian football. The national team will spend another three days in Bosnia before making the trip to the United States for the second phases of the World Cup preparations. The next match will be against Ivory Coast on May 30 in St. Louis before facing Mexico on June 3 in Chicago which will finish up the Dragons’ North American tour.
Bosnia-Herzegovina XI: Begović, Mujdža, Šunjić, Spahić , Salihović, Bešić, Pjanić, Medunjanin, Misimović, Ibišević, Džeko