Ukraine vs Northern IrelandInternational Friendly, KO: 19:00 Jun 3, 2021, Dnipro Arena
NORTHERN IRELAND may have finally managed a win for manager Ian Baraclough at the 12th attempt of asking, but it's a big ask to make it two wins out of two when they travel to Dnipro for a closed-doors friendly with Ukraine.
A 3-0 friendly win over Malta in Austria admittedly won't make the rest of Europe sit up, but it was a huge win for the ex-Motherwell manager whose introduction into senior international management has been a nightmare with the Ulster men's last win coming in October 2019 in a friendly in the Czech Republic.
However, as tricky as a trip to Ukraine can be, they are playing against a side almost in as much dismal form as they had been.
They needed an injury time equaliser in Kkarkiv from Viktor Tsygankov to rescue a face-saving draw against Bahrain. Although manager Andriy Shevchencko insisted he wasn't bothered about the result, they have now gone seven games without a win and have managed just one victory in their last 11 games, although that was against Spain.
With Euro 2020 games upcoming against Netherlands, North Macedonia and Austria, they could do with a sharpish pick-me-up.
How the bookies view it
Ukraine are favourites but are perhaps nowhere near as odds-on as you might expect at 13/20 with Tonybet. A win for Northern Ireland is 11/2 with Hill's and Unibet and a draw is 23/10 with Sport Nation.
Recent head to heads
Northern Ireland celebrated a famous 2-0 win against Ukraine at Euro 2016 for their first ever victory at a European Championships in Lyon.
Both qualifiers for Euro 2004 ended in goalless draws.
Players to watch
Dynamo Kiev attacking midfielder Viktor Tsygankov has a happy knack of scoring goals as he showed in Ukraine's last game. He's netted three goals for his country already this season and bet365 has him at a tasty 4/1 to score anytime.
Jordan Jones netted for his country against Malta and enjoyed a good recent loan spell at Sunderland from Rangers. He's an important attacking threat for Northern Ireland and is a huge price at 11/1 to score anytime with bet365.
Anything else catch the eye?
Ukraine have drawn their last four games 1-1 against France, Finland, Kazakhstan and Bahrain and had previously lost in Switzerland, Germany and Poland.
They've kept one clean sheet in 14 games and Northern Ireland will send over a young, enthusiastic team with nothing to lose. They have gone through their own nightmare spell, but will go into this thinking they can take something from a confidence-drained home side.
The 19/10 with Sport Nation for both teams to score looks a very good shout and, while it may be a big ask for them to win, the 5/4 with Unibet for a Northern Ireland double chance is worth a dabble.
This International Friendly match between Ukraine and Northern Ireland will be played on Jun 3, 2021 and kick off at 19:00. Check below for our tipsters best Ukraine vs Northern Ireland prediction. You may also visit our dedicated betting previews section for the most up to date previews.