A Shane Long header 13 minutes from time gave Republic of Ireland a deserved win over Bosnia-Herzegovina in their final game at the Aviva Stadium before Euro 2012.
Substitute Long, who replaced Robbie Keane after 67 minutes, was a 6/1 shot with bwin to score the first goal, 6/1 to score the last goal and 17/10 to score at any time.
This means that punters who used their free £25 bet for registering to back Long in the goalscoring market would have scooped a healthy return.
Those who trusted the West Brom hitman to score either first or last will be collecting £175 and those who backed him to score at any time will be £67.50 to the good.
Long owed much to the referee, though, after he denied Ireland a clear penalty early in the game that could have altered the outcome of the first scorer market.
Had Cyril Zimmermann pointed to the spot when Glenn Whelan was felled by Bosnia goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, Ireland’s record goalscorer Keane would have had the chance to open the scoring instead.
Keane had been a surprise starter for Ireland after arriving on international duty with an injury, and for this reason we advised against backing him in the first goalscorer market on Saturday.
This ultimately proved to be the correct decision, although we have to say a small thank you to the Swiss official for helping to justify our call.
James McClean made only his second start for his country and looked lively down the wing before being replaced in the second half by Aiden McGeady, who stole the show with a sprightly and direct performance.
Ireland’s win justified their pre-match tag of 4/5 favourites, although Mehmed Alispahic squandered a glorious late chance to equalise for the visitors when he skewed wide with only Keiren Westwood to beat.
Before the game we had suggested that backing a draw at 12/5 was a good shout, so Alispahic’s late miss denied us gloating rights as the home side held on for victory.
Ireland now travel to their pre-tournament training camp in Italy before playing Hungary in their final warm up match on June 4th.
Giovanni Trapattoni’s side kick off their campaign for real against Croatia on June 10th and they are 13/5 to open with a win, compared to 11/10 on Croatia and 11/5 on the draw.
You will get odds of 7/1 on the Irish repeating their 1-0 win over Bosnia against Croatia and using your free £25 bet for joining bwin.com to back this outcome will return £200 if successful.
New customers can register here to claim a free £25 bet or click here to see all our Euro 2012 odds.
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