Bosnia-Herzegovina's dream of a first appearance at the FIFA World Cup™ finals received a huge boost with a home draw against Turkey.
Playing for second place in Group 5, behind runaway leaders Spain, the home side entered the match with a four-point advantage over their visitors. And they successfully battled back from conceding an early goal to secure a draw and preserve that priceless cushion, with two rounds of games remaining.
Emre, the former Inter Milan and Newcastle United midfielder who is now playing for Fenerbahce, gave Turkey the perfect start when he slid through a crowd of players to score from close range when the ball ran loose. That goal came after four minutes and increased the pressure on Bosnia-Herzegovina, given a victory for Turkey would have narrowed the gap between the teams to a single point.
However the lead did not last long. Turkey, FIFA World Cup semi-finalists in 2002 and UEFA EURO 2008 semi-finalists, were pegged back to 1-1 in the 25th minute as Hoffenheim midfielder Sejad Salihovic hauled Miroslav Blazevic's team back on to level terms.
Renowned for his menace at set-pieces, Salihovic took full advantage of a free-kick on the edge of the Turkey penalty area and curled a brilliant shot into the top right corner.
Turkey's remaining matches are against Belgium and Armenia, while Bosnia-Herzegovina must play Estonia and Spain. Should Bosnia-Herzegovina beat Estonia in their next match, they will secure second place in the group and leave Turkey stranded in the FIFA World Cup wilderness.