Thursday, 14 July 2016

Beitar Jerusalem vs AC Omonia Europa League Match Preview And Prediction - July 15, 2016


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Omonia Nicosia exited the Europa League last year despite not losing a single game. They were beaten on away goals by Brondby after 0-0 and 2-2 scorelines. Beitar have only scored 2 goals in their last 5 home games.

Ran Ben Shimon is likely to stick with the team that negotiated the last round.

3 of Omonia's 4 goals last week were scored by substitutes. Cleyton and Roushias are hoping for starts on the back of that while English striker Matt Derbyshire who netted the other goal should keep his place up front.

Beitar Jerusalem were involved in the 1st Qualifying Round and just creeped through against Bosnian side Sloboda Tuzla. An uneventful tie was settled by an Omer Atzili penalty for the Israelis in the 2nd leg last week but they will need to improve if they are to have a chance of making any real progress in this competition. Beitar finished 3rd in Israel last year but they were a massive 23 points behind the top two and aren’t in the same class of Maccabi Tel Aviv who also compete in this round. They actually lost 7 of their final 9 games last term so there is still perhaps a bit of confidence that needs restoring although two clean sheets will have helped even if their attacking play was uninspiring.

Omonia Nicosia also made hard work of their 1st Qualifying Round tie against Banants of Armenia. A 1-0 win away from home should have made the 2nd leg pretty comfortable but they conceded late on at home so the tie headed into extra-time where the Cypriots finally got things going in the final third netting 4 times to secure a 5-1 aggregate win. That should at least have given them a bit of confidence to take into this game and if they start where they left off, Beitar could be in for a very difficult evening.

The Israelis are the favourites but they just seem like a pretty unconvincing side with limited creativity or attacking threat. They only scored 46 goals in the relatively weak Israeli league last year, 30 less than the side above them Maccabi and they have bad memories of this stage last year when they hammered 9-2 on aggregate by Sporting Charleroi of Belgium. They are trading at around Evens to win this but Omonia are a useful side and unbeaten in 7 Europa League games so surely backing Double Chance – Draw or Omonia Nicosia at 4/5 is the way to go here.

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