Ukraine v Northern Ireland
Thursday 3 June, 19:00
Live on Sky Sports
Ukraine need a win ahead of the Euros
The Ukraine had their fourth straight 1-1 draw when they were in action just over a week ago, but as it was against Bahrain, it wouldn’t be viewed as a good result.
At least in their World Cup Qualifying campaign they have been held by the likes of France to a draw, but the fact remains, they have now gone seven matches without a victory – which ironically came against Spain.
Unlike their opponents on Thursday, Andriy Shevchenko’s side are warming up for a tilt at the Euros later this month. They have a decent draw too, with both North Macedonia and Austria in their group, so they will be keen to get a win on the board before their first fixture on June 13th.
Can NI build on their Malta success?
It was 12th time lucky for Ian Baraclough on Sunday as his team finally won inside of 90 minutes with him in charge. They beat Malta 3-0, but it’s fair to say that the second half performance was much better than the first.
The manager played a relatively strong side against Malta, but he blooded some younger talent too, with Liverpool’s Conor Bradley getting a short taste of the action.
Baraclough will likely go pretty strong again in Dnipro, as Norn look to build some momentum ahead of some crunch World Cup Qualifiers in September.
The hosts are the odds-on favourites for this friendly, with their price hovering around the 1.664/6 mark on the Betfair Exchange.
That’s quite short given their recent win record, and it appears that they reserve their best displays for the better teams.
If you think that victories will be like busses for Northern Ireland, then you can take some of the 7.613/2 on the away win, but I just don’t see it personally.
The draw is a tempter at 3.55/2 though, as the match features two teams who don’t score many goals. There is also the potential that the Ukraine won’t want to bust a gut, ahead of the Euros.
My summarisation of this being a low-scoring affair is reflected in the Over/Under 2.5 Goals market, as the Under is trading at 1.51/2, and the Over at 2.8615/8.
Those prices are pretty fair, but I am tempted by Both Teams to Score at 2.747/4.
As mentioned, the Ukraine have drawn their last four matches, all of which finished 1-1. The visitors don’t score many goals themselves, but they do tend to find one, and at the prices, it looks like a decent bet.
The Draw and BTTS will make up two thirds of my Bet Builder on the Sportsbook. The other selection is Both Teams to Score in the first half, as this could be a game that peters out after the break. The three combined pays 22.5.