World Cup Qualifying: Azerbaijan v Northern Ireland match preview

A look ahead to this week’s World Cup Qualifier in Baku

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The Independent Football

The meeting of Azerbaijan and Northern Ireland sees two teams who only have pride to play for in their last two qualifying matches.

Azerbaijan find themselves at the bottom of their group having failed to win any of their eight matches so far. Despite this unenviable record they have proven difficult to beat at times and have drawn five of those eight matches. The Azeris will fancy their chances against Northern Ireland and hope to finally give their home fans something to cheer this qualifying campaign.

Northern Ireland are only one point above Azerbaijan but they have at least managed a win when they upset Russia at Windsor Park. Although they lost their last away match to fellow strugglers Luxembourg, Martin O’Neill’s side will hope to draw on recent good performances against Portugal and Russia and cement their place in fourth position in the group.

KICK-OFF: Friday, 5.00pm

PAST MEETINGS…

Northern Ireland 1 (Healy) Azerbaijan 1 (Aliyev), World Cup Qualifying, November 2012

Northern Ireland 2 (Elliott, Feeney) Azerbaijan 0, World Cup Qualifying, September 2005

Azerbaijan 0 Northern Ireland 0, World Cup Qualifying, October 2004

STATS…

Northern Ireland have gained one point out of a possible nine away from home.

Azerbaijan have not won a competitive match since September 2011 when they beat Kazakhstan 3-2

In three matches between the two sides Northern Ireland have never lost, winning once and drawing twice.

In eight qualifying matches this campaign Azerbaijan have only managed four goals, three of which have come in front of their home fans.

ODDS…

Azerbaijan to win: 2.4

Northern Ireland to win: 3.45

Draw: 3.3

TV: Live on Sky Sports 3 at 5.00pm

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