Injuries put Bosnian defense in trouble

Injuries put Bosnian defense in trouble

SARAJEVO - Reuters
Injuries put Bosnian defense in trouble

Bosnia National Team Coach Safet Susic attends a training session in Hrasnica on Oct 4.

Injuries, suspensions and lack of squad depth mean coach Safet Susic faces tough choices over which players to field in Bosnia’s EURO 2012 qualifier against Portugal tonight.

Bosnia’s defense will miss long-term casualty Mensur Mujdza with a broken metatarsal bone in his foot while Boris Pandza and Sasa Papac are suspended for the first leg in Zenica on Friday.

The makeshift back four likely to start against the Portuguese looked shaky in Tuesday’s 2-1 warm-up win over local first division club Zeljeznicar Sarajevo, who created a hatful of chances.

“I knew very little before this game what team I would pick for the Portugal game and now I am none the wiser,” Susic told Bosnian state television BHT1. “It’s not just the defense giving me a headache, it’s also the midfield because we have a lot of attacking midfielders with an instinct to go forward.

“With a team structured like that, you have to score at least two or three goals to beat any opposition and that’s not going to be easy against a team of Portugal’s quality. “We have two more training sessions to sort out these issues and we need to find some kind of a solution,” said Susic.

Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko will lead the attack for Bosnia, which is aiming to qualify for its first major event in eight attempts since the initial bid to reach the 1998 World Cup. “To be honest, I am glad that we play the first game at home,” Dzeko said. “I think the most important thing is that we achieve a good result in Zenica.”