Saturday, October 31, 2020

Netherlands still scoreless with De Boer, after draw in Bosnia

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Frank de Boer is still waiting for his first goal since taking over the Netherlands after his team drew 0-0 in the Nations League with Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Starting his reign with a disappointing 1-0 loss to Mexico in Amsterdam, De Boer, appointed after Ronald Koeman’s departure to take over Barcelona, ​​saw the Netherlands dominate possession and territory in Zenica.

However, they lacked a cutting edge as Bosnia-Herzegovina, eliminated from the Euro 2020 play-offs on penalties by Northern Ireland on Thursday, stood their ground to earn a point in the Group A1 clash.

Luuk de Jong, selected in place of suspended Memphis Depay, came close to making a breakthrough, his downward header forced a superb save from goalkeeper Ibrahim Sehic, while Ryan Babel turned down a glorious opportunity in overtime.

However, a draw was not a surprise. Neither team had managed a goal attempt in a first half that saw a lot of intention but a clear lack of quality, with the action barely improving after the break.

Stefan de Vrij headed wide on an early free-kick, though the defender made a major impact in his own penalty area later on, producing a timely challenge to block Amer Gojak’s attempt.

The Netherlands pinned their opponents deep for long periods, but Bosnia-Herzegovina seemed more likely to make a breakthrough as the minutes ticked by.

The introduction of Edin Dzeko from the bench made the difference, his run and direct pass allowed Miralem Pjanic to take aim with a firm shot that finally forced goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen to make a save in the 69th minute.

At the other end, Sehic reacted smartly to avoid Frenkie de Jong’s effort, then showed great agility to keep namesake Luuk out of the resulting corner.

However, the home keeper should have been defeated in the final stage, when a loose ball fell kindly to Babel in the area, only for the substitute to sum up the performance by shooting wide.

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