Bosnia vs Portugal: Ronaldo to profit from defensive dilemma
Bosnia coach Safet Susic may be setting his team up to beat Portugal in the first leg of their Euro 2012 play-off tie, but their defensive troubles can be exploited to the maximum by Cristiano Ronaldo and co.
Portugal won in Bosnia during their qualifying campaign for the 2010 World Cup and 11/8 looks fine value that they can repeat this success to significantly bolster their chances of reaching next year’s finals in Ukraine and Poland.
Bosnia’s immediate problem is in defence as three of their regular back four are out – Boris Pandza and Sasa Papac are both suspended, while Mensur Mujdza will miss both meetings with Portugal because of a broken foot.
Susic is still not totally decided how to juggle his pack, particularly as his team were hardly inspiring in defence in a 2-1 warm-up victory over Bosnian club side Zeljeznicar Sarajevo.
However, Bosnia are not short of an attacking threat and may take the philosophy of simply attempting to score more than the opposition.
Edin Dzeko has been in deadly form for Manchester City, while Roma’s Miralem Pjanic has the creative credentials to unlock Portugal’s defence.
Bosnia are 21/10 in the Euro 2012 odds to beat Portugal and will certainly be hopeful of taking an advantage into their return leg away next week.
While Bosnia are looking to qualify for their first major finals, Portugal have aspirations of reaching a fifth successive Euro finals.
The recent form of Ronaldo will be a major boost to their chances, with the Real Madrid forward already having four hat-tricks to his name this season.
Portugal may have to adapt slightly to the expected bobbly nature of the Bosnian pitch, but as they also have the likes of Nani and Raul Meireles in their ranks, they have enough of an attacking threat to capitalise on the defensive troubles of the hosts.