Friday, October 11, 2013

Azerbaijan vs Northern Ireland

There will be nothing but pride to compete for in Baku on Friday night when Azerbaijan play host to Northern Ireland.

The home side go into the World Cup qualifier bottom of Group F and without a win from their first eight matches, while the Greens are two places and one point better off than their hosts.

Manager Michael O'Neill, who has won just one of his 12 games at the helm, has a handful of injuries to contend with for this encounter, with Aaron Hughes and Aberdeen striker Josh Magennis already ruled out.

Meanwhile, Palermo forward Kyle Lafferty will be absent because of suspension, but he could return for the final qualifier against Israel on Tuesday.

Azerbaijan coach Berti Vogts has named a largely youthful squad, with only one player - defender and captain Rashad Sadygov - over the age of 30.

These two sides have met on three previous occasions. Northern Ireland have won one of those, while the other two clashes have ended in draws.

Recent form

Azerbaijan: DLDDWD

N Ireland: DDLWLL

Possible starting lineups

Azerbaijan: Agayev; Sadıqov, Allahverdiyev, Abısov, Sukurov; Ramaldanov, Amirquliyev, Abdullayev, Aliyev, Ozkara; Dadaşov

N Ireland: Carroll; McAuley, J Evans, Cathcart, Bruce; Brunt, Davis, C Evans, Norwood, Ferguson; Paterson

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