Austrians kept a cool head in the “cauldron”.

Austrians kept a cool head in the “cauldron”.
Austria’s U21 national team celebrated a 2-0 win in Ried.
Image: GEPA pictures/Christian Moser (GEPA pictures)

“I was expecting so many Bosnian fans to come. They are there with all their hearts and come from Austria, Germany and even Bosnia for a game like this,” said Anel Hadzic before the kick-off of the U21 European Championship qualifier Austria should win against Bosnia-Herzegovina 2-0 (0-0). The 34-year-old ex-kicker, who was under contract with SV Ried and Sturm Graz, among others, played 14 international matches for Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Hours before kick-off at 6 p.m., dozens of Bosnian fans, all dressed in black, made their presence felt loudly in the Innviertel. On Tuesday night, a Bosnian flag had already been attached to the Austrian team bus in Bad Schallerbach, where the ÖFB youngsters are staying.

Video: The anthems of the two national teams

As if the sporting pressure after the disappointing 1-1 draw at the start of the European Championship elimination in Cyprus wasn’t enough for the red-white-red kickers, where head coach Werner Gregoritsch got fit in time after a flu-like infection, the north stand was a large “bastion” for the approximately 2,000 Bosnian supporters. In total, a little less than 3,000 visitors came.

There hasn’t been a similarly loud atmosphere in Ried for a long time, but the second division team’s recent performances didn’t give much cause for enthusiasm.

Video: Bosnian fans created a loud atmosphere

The Austrians seemed impressed by the crowd at the start, there was little progress in the first half hour, but the Bosnians didn’t pose a threat in front of Nikolas Polster’s goal either. Shortly before halftime, a shot from Christoph Lang was blocked at the last second after a strong solo effort. Shortly after the break, the Bosnians missed a huge chance to take the lead. Filip Cuic appeared alone in front of the ÖFB goal and missed more or less miserably.

Austria woke up and the visiting goalkeeper fished a Dijon Kameri free kick from around 22 meters out of the corner.

After an hour, the Bosnian fan block sent out a banner saying: “Greetings to Rangnick and the ÖFB – you won’t take our talents away from us.”

In the 63rd minute, the Bosnian goalkeeper took a corner, captain Leopold Querfeld said thank you and dusted off. Substitute Noah Bischof made it 2-0 just three minutes later. Austria then played the lead home dry. Austria is back in the race for EURO 2025 with four points from two games.

Video: Interview after the match with team boss Werner Gregoritsch

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