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Begovic wary of Walters in Ireland play-off clash

Bosnia-Herzegovina goalkeeper Asmir Begovic has identified former Stoke City team-mate Jonathan Walters as a key threat in the second leg of his country’s Euro 2016 play-off tie against Republic of Ireland.

The sides resume in Dublin on Monday level at 1-1 after Bosnia captain Edin Dzeko found a response to Robbie Brady’s 82nd-minute opener in Zenica.

Ireland’s attack is set to be bolstered by Walters for the return, after he served a suspension last time out, and Chelsea’s Begovic knows all about the 32-year-old’s all-action style from his five-and-a-half-year stay at the Britannia Stadium.

“I’ll speak to some of t
he defenders and everyone on the team about Jon, and the other guys that I know as we did before the first leg, and try to prepare each other, inform each other as much as possible,” he told a pre-match news conference.

“He’s a quality player, a seasoned pro. He’s played at Premier League level for a very long time and I think his quality is there for everyone to see.

“So I’m sure he’ll be excited for the game, but I’m sure we’ll also be ready for his qualities and try to stop him, to limit him as much as possible.”

Brady’s away goal arguably gives Ireland the edge ahead of their home leg but Begovic feels the tie is evenly poised and suggested a weight of expectation could hinder Martin O’Neill’s men.

“Honestly, I think before the first tie, I think it’s two evenly matched teams,” he added. “I don’t think there was one clear favourite or so much of a better team.

“As the first game showed there’s really not much in it between the two sides and I expect more of the same.

“Maybe being at home, Ireland will expect a little bit more and we’ll try to use that to our advantage.”

Mon 16 Nov, 2015
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