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Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Northern Ireland and Bosnia unlikely to feast on goals

Tight game likely in Belfast

Northern Ireland striker Kyle Lafferty
1 of 1

Nations League
Sky Sports Football & Main Event, Saturday 2pm

Bosnia have played six matches under new boss Robert Prosinecki and it’s fair to say he’s not setting the world alight.

The Balkan side have lost only one of those six – away to Mexico – and won two of them, against Bulgaria and South Korea.

The other three matches were draws and 0-0 draws to boot. In fact those six games since Prosinecki moved into the dugout in January have produced the grand total of six goals.

Northern Ireland aren’t the most potent of outfits either – Michael O’Neill’s men have failed to find the net in five of their last six fixtures – so don’t go expecting a goal feast at Windsor Park.

Northern Ireland are slight outsiders – and arguably shouldn’t be – while the draw is as short as 7-4 in places.

In a match where there’s little to choose between the nations and little firepower on offer, take the 6-4 there are under 1.5 goals.

Bosnia are proving tough to beat under Prosinecki as they seek to put behind them a disappointing World Cup qualifying campaign in which they finished miles adrift of Belgium and two points behind Greece.

And only five members of their current squad have scored international goals. Two of that quintet – Miralem Pjanic and skipper Edin Dzeko – have been the bedrock of the set-up for five years and more but Prosinecki is struggling to find much strength in depth.

A player to watch out for is Edin Visca of Turkish outfit Istanbul Basaksehir. He bagged a hat-trick against South Korea in June and adds firepower off the flanks.

Northern Ireland are decent at home with four wins to nil out of five - the fifth was a defeat by Germany - in their home qualifiers for the World Cup. They were then lucklessly pipped 1-0 by Switzerland in the playoffs.

They are improving immeasurably though it has to be a concern for O’Neill that Steve Davis, Jonny Evans, Paddy McNair and one or two others simply can’t get starts for their club sides.

At least centre-forward Kyle Lafferty has banged in a couple for Rangers while the recalled Will Grigg has struck three times for Wigan in the Championship.

Recommendation
Under 1.5 goals
1pt 6-4 Betfair, Paddy Power 

Bet on this game at Soccerbase.com

Team news
Northern Ireland
Chris Brunt has retired. Will Grigg has been recalled after a two-year absence.

Bosnia
Anderlecht centre-back Ognjen Vranjes is injured. Bournemouth keeper Asmir Begovic continues to be left out in the cold.

Key stat
Both teams have scored in two of Northern Ireland’s last 24 international matches.


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Northern Ireland are decent at home with four wins to nil out of five - the fifth was a defeat by Germany - in their home qualifiers for the World Cup
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