Cyprus rally to hand Bosnia and Herzegovina a shock home defeat
Dimitris Christofi netted a brace as Cyprus struck back to claim a 2-1 victory over Bosnia-Herzegovina in the opening match of their 2016 European Championship Group B qualifying campaign.
Vedad Ibisevic gave the home side an early lead before Christofi levelled for the visitors just before the break, adding his second midway through the second half.
The hosts had the chance to clinch a late equaliser but Miralem Pjanic suffered a penalty miss as Safet Susic's men left the Bilino Polje empty handed.
Bosnia captain Edin Dzeko passed up the opportunity to put his side ahead on the opening minute of the match as he missed the target, but it did not take long before their early dominance paid off and Ibisevic handed them the lead after six minutes.
The 30-year-old Stuttgart striker picked up Avdija Vrsajevic's cross from the right and made no mistake as he lost his marker and headed home with a simple nod from six yards out.
The hosts continued to dominate and Dzeko could have doubled their lead had he not sent his long-range effort over the crossbar minutes later.
Cyprus goalkeeper Antonis Georgallides was tested a number of times in the first half but he managed to keep out Sanjin Prcic's and Muhamed Besic's chances before Dzeko again came close but his header sailed past the left post.
The away side struggled to have a shot on target before Vincent Laban came close as the match approached the half-hour mark, but his drilled effort from just outside the box flew over the bar.
And they grabbed the equaliser with their second real chance of the match just before the break as Efstathios Aloneftis picked out Christofi in the box, who headed Cyprus level with a close-range finish.
Manchester City forward Dzeko came close again at the start of the second half as he got his head onto Pjanic's corner but sent the ball wide as the home side looked to reclaim the lead - that came moments before Christofi almost netted his second as Cyprus pressed back.
The visitors' pressure paid off as they took the lead after 73 minutes when Marios Nicolaou provided Christofi with a perfect pass on the edge of the 18-yard box and the 25-year-old kept his nerve as he slotted the ball past Bosnia keeper Asmir Begovic.
As the match wore on the home side searched for an equaliser and Valentinos Sielis conceded a penalty for bringing down Dzeko with two minutes remaining -- handing them the opportunity to pull one back, but Pjanic's powerful spot-kick was parried away by Georgallides as Cyprus held on for the win.