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FK Qarabag vs Sporting Lisbon Predictions

  • 17:55
  • Expired
  • Baku Olympic Stadium
    Sporting Lisbon
      • BT Sport 1

      odds when tipped

      odds when tipped

      Tip Reasoning

      Qarabag haven’t exactly thrived since the start of this competition, though they did just about keep themselves in the hunt for the knockout rounds with a win on their travels during the last round of fixtures, so all is not lost just yet.

      Despite not being the biggest club in the world, Qarabag are an experienced Europa League side these days, so it perhaps a little bit disappointing that they’ve only been able to collect three points from the first four matches in Group E. Facing the likes of Arsenal and Sporting was never going to be easy, but manager Gurban Gurbanov would have expected more from his side against lowly Vorskla, who they lost to at this venue on match-day three.

      The Azerbaijanians did get their revenge on Group E’s Ukrainian contingent when picking up three points on match-day four, though it could be too little, too late for Thursday’s hosts.

      Overall, Qarabag’s performances have left plenty to be desired. They’re a reasonably well organised unit, but they lack real defensive nous when push comes to shove against a good side, as their defeat at home to Arsenal proved, while they’re lacking in the final third. Frankly, if you’re scoring just one goal in four matches and are averaging just 0.62 expected goals for, then you’re going to struggle.

      In contrast, Sporting have ticked along nicely since the start of the campaign, though they’ve hardly been impressive. The Portuguese outfit are joint-top on eight points, but their performances haven’t been overly taking. That said, they did beat Qarabag with minimum fuss in the reverse fixture, so it would be no surprise if they had enough about them to edge ahead in Baku on Thursday evening.

      Both home and away against Arsenal, Marcel Keizer’s men struggled to get going in the final third, though their efforts against both Vorskla away and Qarabag at home suggest that they ought to have enough to get the desired result on this occasion. In two matches against Group E’s two lesser teams, Sporting scored four goals, conceded just once and mustered a reasonably respectable 3.52 expected goals for, giving up just 0.31 at the other end.

      When the teams met in the reverse fixture, Sporting didn’t exactly run away with it, though they kept their visitors at arms-length with minimal fuss. Having emerged with a comfortable victory, clocking an expected goal difference of +1.17.

      For all they can avoided a beating, Qarabag lack the forward quality to get serious in the final third, and it is their glaring lack of both creativity and attacking potency, coupled with the fact that they failed to compete in Lisbon, that make the visitors look a decent bet at the prices.

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