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APOEL vs Athletic Bilbao predictions for this Thursday’s UEFA Europa League clash in Cyprus. Our betting tips suggest the hosts could spring a surprise.

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Reason For APOEL vs Athletic Bilbao Predictions

This tie is now quite finally poised after the Cypriots managed to score two away goals in Bilbao last week. Athletic controlled the game for large spells and had chances to put it to bed when they were 3-1 up but a late Giannis Gianniotas strike for APOEL has changed the whole context of the tie. With home advantage in Nicosia, this could be a very different kind of game and the hosts look capable of at least avoiding defeat on the night.

A big reason for that is how poor Athletic have been away from home this season, be that in Spanish or European competitions. They only picked up 1 point and only scored 1 goal in their 3 away games in the Europa League group phase. Their away form in La Liga is even worse, with just 2 points from their last 8 away matches and they’ve failed to score in the last four. It is only their record at San Mames that is holding their season together and given their struggles on the road, they don’t really justify their status as ‘odds on’ favourites here.

It’s easy to write off Cypriot sides in Europe just because the country isn’t much of a football powerhouse and the league is weak. However, APOEL have proved time and time again that they are something of an exception to that. They made the Quarter-Finals of the Champions League only five years ago and were the dominant force in their Europa League group this season. They won all of their home group games and that must give them tremendous confidence coming into this match, given a 1-0 or 2-1 win would be enough to see them through.

They’ve only lost 1 of their last 31 home games in all competitions and although most of those were domestic opponents, they’ve got plenty of results against capable opponents in Europe too. They showed enough in the 1st Leg to suggest they will cause this Athletic defence problems and given the Basque side’s difficulties away from home, backing Double Chance – Apoel Nicosia or Draw at 17/20 looks to offer value in this one.

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Article by: Mark S
Twitter: @marksoc1
Published: February 21, 2017

Our match preview predictions are fully researched and provided in good faith but no profits are guaranteed. Please gamble responsibly, you should only ever gamble with money you can afford to lose. Visit our responsible gambling guidelines for more information. 18+

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