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Friday, 18 January, 2019

Stubborn defences ready to come to the fore in Toronto

Toronto's Sebastian Giovinco returns from suspension
1 of 1

MLS Eastern Conference final second leg
Sky Sports Football, 12.30am Wednesday night

Toronto and Columbus Crew played out a goalless draw in the first-leg of their Eastern Conference final and on a nervy night in the return fixture at BMO Field defences could once again come to the fore.

Match-winning chances were kept to a minimum in Ohio. The pair conjured up just four shots on target between them and, with an MLS Cup final spot up for grabs, punters should expect a similar story in Canada.

Toronto’s attacking ranks are given a healthy boost by the returns from suspension of free-scoring duo Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco, who were responsible for 42 per cent of Toronto’s goals during the Canadian side’s regular-season campaign.

But even blessed with their presence, the hosts are no guarentee to breach a Columbus defence who showed their stubborn qualities when shutting out a lively Atalanta on their own patch earlier in the playoffs.

Crew were thumped 5-0 there in May but Gregg Berhalter’s men are a different proposition now.

The visitors have lost just one of their last 14 matches and know their best chance of progressing could be to take the contest the distance.

Just two of their last seven games have seen the net bulge at both ends and the odds-against about this tussle being another slow-burner looks a shade generous.

Toronto boasted the meanest defence in the Eastern Conference regular season. Greg Vanney’s troops kept clean sheets in nine of their 17 home games and Columbus have failed to notch in their last three ventures there.

Vanney’s men were beaten in the MLS Cup final last season and are likely to get their chance to make amends but 4-7 about them doing so looks short.

One or both teams not to score
1pt 11-10 Coral, Hills

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Just two of their last seven games have seen the net bulge at both ends
E.W. Terms
Sky bet