Thursday, 28 July 2016

NK Lokomotiva Zagreb vs Vorskla Poltava UEFA Europa League Qualifiers Match Preview And Prediction - July 29, 2016

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This tie sees two fairly unfamiliar names meet at least in terms of European football. This is only the 3rd time Lokomotiva Zagreb have played in Europe following their debut in 2013 and already it is their most successful European campaign. They’d only previously won one tie and that was against Airbus of Wales last season but they’ve already seen off UE Santa Coloma and RoPS to progress into the 3rd Qualifying Round. They finished 4th in the Croatian top flight last term and are clear underdogs in this tie but should be very competitive in the 1st Leg with home advantage.

Vorskla have slightly more European pedigree. They made the group stage in this competition in 2011-12 but have only played one European tie since and they lost it at this stage of the Europa League last season against Zilina. This is their first European match this term but they did get their league season underway at the weekend with a 1-0 win over Chornomorets. Certainly the top flight in Ukraine is much stronger than the Croatian equivalent and they will be expecting to progress but they could have a tricky 90 minutes in Zagreb here.

The bookies seem convinced that this is going to be a low-scoring game but there are reasons to think otherwise. There have been over 2.5 goals in 5 of Lokomotiva’s last 7 matches and in Europe 9 of their 10 previous games have produced over 2.5 goals so they do tend to be quite positive. That certainly will be their best approach here as if they are going to do anything in this tie, the home leg is likely their best opportunity. They should be a bit fitter than their opponents so it’s in their best interests to inject a tempo to this game as they are unlikely to avoid defeat in Ukraine next week.

There is certainly the potential for goals and backing over 2.5 Goals at 27/20 looks to represent good value.

Lokomotiva's 5 previous European home games have produced 21 goals. The Croatians have scored twice or more in all of them. Both teams have scored in 7 of Vorskla's last 10 European games.

Doležal came into the side in the only change at the weekend but is likely to miss out here with Albanian midfielder Çekiçi set to come in.

The visitors aren't expected to make many changes from the side that played in the league at the weekend.

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