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Northern Ireland v Israel: Draw specialists can gain another point

| 26.03.2013

Though Northern Ireland face a monumental task in qualifying for the 2014 World Cup, few could argue that they have made a marked improvement under the stewardship of Michael O’Neill.

The former Shamrock Rovers boss has made Norn Iron very difficult to beat, and therefore look a good call to gain a point at home to Israel, who have drawn three of their last four away games, at 11/5.

The Green and White Army are unbeaten in their last four matches, but are still in search of their first win under O’Neill, which may deter punters from the 2/1 about a home victory.

Given the hosts vast improvement in performances, it does seem that that maiden triumph will arrive sooner rather than later, but beating Group F’s second-place side may prove too tough a task here.

Indeed, the 11/8 visitors have proved somewhat a surprise package in qualifying so far, having lost only once, and finding the net 13 times in five matches.

In consideration of Israel’s healthy goalscoring record therefore, a score draw looks a tempting 3/1 bet, with the chances looking further strengthened by three of Northern Ireland’s last four games ending level with both teams finding the net.

It is also worth noting that each of those three stalemates finished with a 1-1 scoreline, whilst two of Israel’s last three draws also ended with the same result.

Therefore, the possibility of the teams sharing two goals will see support at 11/2, and more cautious punters can find appeal in the 13/8 odds regarding a 1-1 scoreline at any point in the 90 minutes.

In contrast to their hosts, Israel do have a defined frequent goalscoring source, and it comes in the form of Eden Ben Basat, who has proved a revelation since his international debut.

The Toulouse striker has hit five goals in only six Israel appearances to date, and is 11/2 to break the deadlock at Windsor Park.

For the home side, longer priced options may be worth chancing, considering their last eight goals have been scored by different players.

Although Oliver Norwood awaits his first senior international goal, he possessed an impressive scoring record at youth level, and a set-piece specialist, he may prove considerable each-way value at 22/1 to break the deadlock.

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



John Klee