Competition: European Championships play-off final
Market: Under 2.5 goals
Odds: 4/7 @ 888sport
In what could prove to be another low-scoring encounter in Belfast on Thursday night, Northern Ireland will play host to Slovakia with a spot at EURO 2021 on the line.
Starting with the hosts, while Northern Ireland might have managed to come past Bosnia-Herzegovina on foreign soil thanks to a nail-biting penalties victory, the Greens failed to keep up that momentum when they turned their attention back to Nations League duties. Struggling to adjust to life under new boss Ian Baraclough who replaced Micheal O’Neill earlier in the year, the 49-year-old saw his side hit with back-to-back 1-0 defeats against Norway and Austria. Now failing to win any of their last six straight appearances within 90 minutes, fans around Belfast will also have a real headache over their side’s continued issues in front of goal. Drawing back-to-back blanks last time out, Northern Ireland have managed to record more than a single goal in just one of their previous 12 outings.
As for the visitors, although Slovakia might have also managed to come past the Republic of Ireland thanks to a dramatic penalties victory on home soil last month, they too have drastically struggled to find any real momentum. Throwing away the lead against Israel in what was hugely concerning fashion last month, caretaker boss Štefan Tarkovič has seen his temporary squad pick up just a single point from their four Nations League appearances in this year’s tournament. Last seen on their travels getting hit with a 1-0 loss away at Hampden, it should also be noted that when they last faced off against Northern Ireland back in 2016 the two sides played out a 0-0 draw. In a contest that could see chances come at a real premium, we’re backing a cagey encounter in Belfast.
Bet: Under 2.5 goals at Northern Ireland vs Slovakia 4/7 for Thursday’s European Championships play-off final @ 888sport
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