Portugal take on Cape Verde Islands in a friendly tonight, and Kevin Hatchard's not expecting a thrill-a-minute encounter...
"Cape Verde Islands have drawn a blank in six of their last eight internationals away from home, while Portugal have conceded just one goal since Fernando Santos took charge."
Portugal v Cape Verde Islands
Tuesday March 31, 20:45
It rained cats, dogs and elephants at Burton Albion's Pirelli Stadium, and our hopes of a home win were washed away in the deluge. The hosts pushed hard for a winner in the quagmire against Stevenage, but a 1-1 draw left all parties soggy and unsatisfied.
I feel I owe you a bit of warmth and sunshine, so we're going to Portugal, and a friendly against Cape Verde Islands. The Selecao are on a high since Fernando Santos took the reins from Paulo Bento late last year. Portugal have won all three Euro 2016 qualifiers since the change of coach, including Sunday's 2-1 home win over Serbia.
Santos has toughened Portugal up defensively, and in his four games in charge they have kept three clean sheets, including a shut-out in a 1-0 friendly win over World Cup finalists Argentina. Portugal will rotate their squad for tonight's game in Estoril, with Lucas Joao, Danilo Pereira and Marafona all in line for debuts. Star turn Cristiano Ronaldo is likely to sit the game out because of a knee injury.
Cape Verde Islands only became independent from Portugal in 1975, and Portuguese is still the native tongue. The Blue Sharks have played their old colonial masters twice before, losing 4-1 in 2006 and securing a more than creditable 0-0 draw in 2010.
Cape Verde drew all three of their group games at the African Cup of Nations, including goalless stalemates against DR Congo and Zambia. They have failed to score in six of their last 12 internationals, and they have failed to hit the net in six of their last eight matches away from home.
Although there is added motivation for Cape Verde Islands to do well, it's hard to see this being a particularly vibrant contest, especially given the expected mix-and-match nature of the Portugal side. Considering Portugal's new-found defensive discipline, and Cape Verde's scoring problems, I think backing No in the Both Teams to Score market is a sensible play at 1.9720/21.
Back No in the Both Teams to Score market at 1.9720/21
2015 P/L (1pt per bet)
Points Staked: 42
Points Returned: 35.64
P/L: -6.36 points