Thursday, 28 July 2016

FK Jelgava vs Beitar Jerusalem UEFA Europa League Qualifiers Match Preview And Prediction - July 29, 2016

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This is one of the few ties that features two sides who started out almost a month ago in the 1st Qualifying Round. Jelgava have seen off Breidablik of Iceland 5-4 on aggregate and Slovan Bratislava by a 3-0 margin with all the goals coming in last week’s 2nd Leg in Riga where they will also host the Israelis. It has certainly been a good showing from them so far when you consider they’d only won 2 European ties in their entire history before this season. They finished 4th in the Latvian top flight last season and 14 games into the current campaign they are 4th again.

Beitar Jerusalem are the favourites to win both the 1st Leg and progress overall. They’ve made hard work of their 1st two qualifiers though. There was only 1 goal in 180 minutes of football against Sloboda Tuzla of Bosnia in the 1st Qualifying Round and it was a penalty scored by Beitar’s Omer Atzili. They then progressed on away goals after a 3-3 aggregate draw against Omonia Nicosia with Atzili again bagging two of the goals. Beitar are yet to start their league season but it does get underway this weekend although that will be little distraction here as they head to the Baltics.

Jelgava are unbeaten in 8 matches coming into this and have performed pretty well in the opening two rounds. Beitar should progress over 2 legs but they will have a hard time winning this match. The Israelis have only scored 2 goals from open play in 4 games in the competition this season and looked shaky at the back last week when they conceded 3 goals in Cyprus.

Therefore the value in the 1st Leg at least looks to be found by backing Double Chance – Draw or Jelgava at 4/6.

Jelgava have not previously met Israeli opposition.

Jelgava have lost just 1 of their last 12 games in all competitions. Beitar haven't won any of their last 6 away games in this competition. Their last was in 2000 against WIT Georgia.

Diallo is suspended after his late red card in the last round. The Latvians rested a host of players for their league game on Monday and they should all return here.

Beitar made 3 changes for last week's trip to Cyprus and seem undecided on their first XI. Some changes are likely here with Tal Khila perhaps returning to bolster up the defence.

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