N.Ireland v Azerbaijan: Low-scoring game awaits for Norn Iron

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In a group containing World Champions Germany, Northern Ireland were always realistically aiming to come second in World Cup Qualifying Group C. And if they can defeat Azerbaijan, Michael O’Neill’s boys can move into that runner-up spot.

Norn Iron’s opponents actually sit second right now, thanks to a 1-0 win over Norway, but at 3/5 the bookies make the Green and White Army favourites at Windsor Park.

Azerbaijan are 11/2 for victory, with a draw 5/2.

With the Czech Republic and Norway dropping points already in the Group, there’s a real chance for Norn Iron to go and grab second. But this fixture is a must-win.

On paper Azerbaijan’s record looks strong, with two wins and a draw, plus they’re yet to concede.

But a difficult 1-0 win over minnows San Marino may be more indicative of their 88th ranking.

The hosts have also kept two clean sheets from their three games, so goals may be in short supply here.

With that in mind, it may be worth backing under 2.5 goals at 4/9, or even under 1.5 at 11/8.

Northern Ireland are 15/8 on the -1 handicap, with Kyle Lafferty leading the first goalscorer betting at 7/2.

Will Grigg is 9/2 to ensure the Azerbaijan defence are suitably terrified, with Conor Washington available at the same price.

It’s 4/9 on Both Teams to Score – No, while 4/6 can be found on the Green and Whites keeping a clean sheet.

Spurred on by their wonderful adventure at the Euros this summer, Norn Iron are after another slice of Finals action, and a win-here is imperative if they’re to achieve that dream once more.

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

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Richard Marsh

Richard loves his sport, especially if it involves the sound of tyres screaming around a race track. He's not fussy though and his '90s Premier League nostalgia and knowledge of team nicknames is tough to match.