Thursday, 30 June 2016

Linfield vs Cork UEFA Europa League First qualifying Football Match Preview And Prediction - July 1st, 2016

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There’s an all Irish affair as Linfield take on Cork City in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday. Our betting tips suggest this could end in stalemate.

There are many ties in this round of Europa League qualifying that could prove very one-sided but this is not one of them. There’s not a great deal to choose between the sides with Linfield marginal favourites to win on the night but Cork favourites to progress over two legs. Linfield will be hoping to get a big crowd into Windsor Park for this and build on the vibrant atmosphere that has been in Belfast over the past few weeks during Northern Ireland’s participation in Euro 2016.

That could help to inspire them here and they come in after a good season which saw them finish in 2nd place and qualify for this competition with a considerably better record than the other Northern Irish participants in it. Their last match was the Cup final in May which they lost to Glenavon but they did win their final 4 league games without conceding. They came through this round last season when they beat NSI of the Faroes on away goals but lost to Spartak Trnava in the 2nd qualifying round.

Cork have perhaps a small advantage in that the League of Ireland is a summer league so they should be the sharper of the two teams in terms of fitness. They are in good form too having gone 14 matches without defeat in the league prior to this, winning 10 of those matches but it is over a decade since they won a game in this competition. They’ve gone 9 games without a win in it since beating Ekranas 2-0 in 2005.

There won’t be a great contrast in styles here and this could be a cagey affair with both sides perhaps looking upon this as a relatively rare chance to make some progress in Europe. Cork have played one match since the mid-season break in Ireland and it finished 0-0 and they’ve been pretty good at the back of late keeping clean sheets in all of their last 4 matches. Linfield have done likewise in their last 4 league games but they should find each other tougher to break down than their typical league opponents.

Therefore this could be a low scoring affair and backing there to be under 2.5 goals at 17/20 looks to offer value.

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