Taking the lead in the 82nd minute of an Euro 2016 playoff away-leg would have likely had Marin O’Neill dreaming of summer tournament involvement. He was quickly brought back down to earth though when Bosnia’s Edin Dzeko cancelled out Robbie Brady’s strike just 180 seconds later.
Republic of Ireland’s 1-1 draw with Bosnia Herzegovina leaves the tie delicately poised as the teams prepare to meet again in Dublin.
Ladbrokes make O’Neill’s men 4/7 favourites to qualify thanks to home advantage and Brady’s goal, but at 11/8 they certainly aren’t writing Bosnia off either.
The Irish can’t afford to sit back and hope for their away goal to send them through, especially with a striker as pinpoint as Dzeko around.
Instead, attacking and trying to win the game is the best strategy and the hosts again find themselves as Ladbrokes favourites in that department at 7/5. The draw can be backed at 21/10, which is the same price that the bookmaker affords Bosnia to gain a crushing victory.
Both teams have a strong track record for scoring goals. The Boys in Green have netted in each of their last seven qualifiers and have bagged in 10 of their 11 in total.
The Mehmed Bazdarevic-managed Bosnian’s have also scored in seven straight and have been shut out just once more than Ireland in their 11 outings thus far.
Despite all that, both teams to score is still given an odds-against chance at 11/10, which is a price certainly worth investing in.
Shane Long is a fitness concern having missed the past month with a knee injury, but could make a return in Dublin. The last time he played there, he netted the winning goal as Ireland beat world champions Germany to keep qualification dreams alive.
The return of Jonathan Walters from suspension will also boost O’Neill’s attacking stocks, as the former Aston Villa tactician looks to take a positive approach to the game.
Both Long and Walters are worth options for Ladbrokes’ Sharp Shooter offer, details of which can be found below.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
Fancy a flutter? Sign up today to claim up to £50 in free bets.