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Portugal v Northern Ireland: Ronaldo field day in prospect

| 16.10.2012

Northern Ireland’s visit marks a special occasion for Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo, as the Real Madrid forward will line up for his country for the 100th time.

And the former Ballon d’Or winner can inspire his side to victory, though there is little value to be found in the 1/10 regarding Portuguese success.

The gulf in class between the two teams is evidenced by Northern Ireland’s 20/1 price to triumph in Porto, a result that would prove boss Michael O’Neill’s first win in charge.

Even a draw looks beyond the travelling side though, but with that outcome emerging from two of their last three games, some could invest in the stalemate at 8/1.

Ronaldo should be expected to take centre stage in this clash, considering the fact that he so often does when opposing some of the world’s finest players.

In this company, against a side ranked 117th in the world, he is 3/10 to score during a Portuguese win, and a very tempting 7/4 to break the deadlock.

Alternatively, it is 7/2 that the Real Madrid hitman marks the occasion with a hat-trick.

He can also be backed at 1/4 to find the net at any time, and whilst a short odds-on price, this still looks an appealing bet.

Goal markets could also prove profitable in this match, and punters should note that Portugal haven’t conceded in their past two home games.

Northern Ireland haven’t scored on the road in their last two games on their travels, so a Portuguese clean sheet tempts at 8/15.

Portugal can alternatively be backed at 8/13 to win a game in which they aren’t breached, and that too seems to offer superb value.

Also, taking into account the vast contrast in the quality of the opposing line-ups, 6/4 seems too big regarding the possibility of four or more Portugal goals occurring here.

The home side have scored in both halves in two of three qualifying matches so far, and as an 8/13 chance, look very good to do so again here.

An even better bet could be the 4/7 for Portugal to win both halves though, with a dominant home win seemingly in prospect.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.



John Klee