What penalties await the Bosnians
After the post match incidents between Greece and Bosnia, hefty penalties await Greece’s group H counterparts.
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On Friday, Greece earned a valuable point in Zenica against Bosnia in World Cup qualifying, maintaining second place in the group standings. Unfortunately, the match was marred by incidents following the final whistle between the players and coaching staff of both Greece and Bosnia which was sparked by Bosnia’s Edin Dzeko when he attacked Greece’s Kostas Manolas. This developed into a brawl between the two sides where Bosnian assistant coach, Stefan Zili, punched Giannis Gianniotas in the face resulting in two lost teeth for the Greek international.
In addition to the scuffle on the pitch, Greek fans were attacked by the home supporters resulting in injuries. And that is not all, Bosnian fans invaded the pitch, fans threw items at the Greek players, and the players of each team left the pitch 10 minutes after the final whistle due to the incidents.
According to sport24.gr, the official match observer recorded ALL these actions on his match report, which is expected to backfire on the Bosnian team as hefty penalties await. Before one can conclude what penalties await Bosnia, the official match report must be released and reviewed by UEFA/FIFA. Bosnia will certainly pay a large fine for the incidents and will likely be hit with a closed stadium ban (1-3 matches) to be served in this qualifying campaign. Bosnia have only one remaining home match in qualifying and that is against Belgium in October.
There has been an outcry from Greek fans for point deductions enforced on Bosnia, however this will be decided based on what has been written on the match report. Although this is not likely to happen, this would be a welcoming penalty that would benefit the Greeks.
As for the closed stadium ban, this can have both a positive and negative outlook for Greece. If Greece were to defeat Belgium in September, the Ethniki will be well in the running for first place in the group and will need Bosnia’s help when they host Belgium in October (Greece need Belgium to lose points in Zenica) to jump Belgium in the standings. Of course, a closed stadium will negatively affect Greece in this scenario as Belgium will avoid the hostile environment of a sold out Bilino Polje stadium.
If Greece were not to defeat Belgium in September, then first place will be well out of reach and the Galanolefki will have to settle for second spot in the group. In this case, a closed stadium ban for Bosnia will benefit Greece as our national team will fight with the Bosnians for second spot. Greece will bank on dropped Bosnian points against Belgium when they face off in Zenica in October, and a closed-stadium will make Bosnia’s efforts for all three points a much more difficult task.