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Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Weakened Northern Ireland set for low-scoring friendly

Absence of forwards makes hosts vulnerable against New Zealand

Chris Brunt of Northern Ireland
1 of 1

International friendly
Premier Sports, 7.45pm Friday

Northern Ireland face a massive World Cup qualifier in Azerbaijan next week but before that Michael O'Neill's men host a New Zealand side preparing for this month's Confederations Cup.

One thing we should not expect from this friendly is goals and that brings the draw into play, particularly as Northern Ireland are missing a number of forward players.

Conor Washington is getting married, Jamie Ward is out and Kyle Lafferty is available but lacks match fitness. There looks to be a chance for Ross County's Liam Boyce and possibly Accrington's Shay McCartan to feature up front but that is unlikely to scare the All Whites.

Only three of New Zealand's last 15 friendly encounters have gone over 2.5 goals, while none of Northern Ireland's last 13 matches have seen both teams score.

Recommendation
Draw
1pt 14-5 bet365, Paddy Power

Bet on this game at Soccerbase.com

Both teams have scored in none of Northern Ireland's last 13 matches
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