Thursday, 14 July 2016

Rovaniemi vs Lokomotiv Zagreb Europa League Match Preview And Prediction - July 14, 2016

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This will be the first meeting between RoPS and Lokomotiv Zagreb, Both RoPS and Lokomotiv Zagreb have scored in 88% of their last eight matches.

RoPS made it to the 2nd qualifying round of the Europa League for just the second time when they beat Shamrock Rovers 3-1 on aggregate earlier in the month, but they have never made it past the 2nd qualifying round. To be fair to them they’ve only been involved in four major European competitions in their history, and their 2014/15 appearance in the Europa League ended a 14 year wait for continental football to come back to RoPS.

The hosts are in pretty good form overall at the moment. Their 2-1 win over Inter Turku on Sunday made it four wins and three draws from their last seven matches, although a spell of poor form earlier in the season has left them in 5th position in the Finland Veikkausliiga.

Lokomotiv Zagreb haven’t exactly got a wealth of European experience to look back on either. They made their first appearance in the Europa League in the 2013/14 season, which isn’t bad going considering they were playing their football in the Croatian 4th tier under ten years ago.

However, they have never made it past the 2nd qualifying round of the competition. They lost on away goals to Dinamo Minsk in their debut season and went out to a 7-2 thrashing from PAOK last year. This year they will feel they have a better chance of making club history though.

Lokomotiv Zagreb come into this game on the back of four straight victories, including a 7-2 aggregate hammering of UE Santa Coloma in the Europa League. They are now looking forward to the beginning of the Croatian domestic season on Sunday, but there is no doubt that they will field a full strength side on Thursday.

The visitors have netted 11 goals in their last four matches, but they conceded in both legs of the Europa League 1st qualifying round to highlight some defensive weaknesses. RoPS haven’t failed to score in any of their last six outings either, so I can see the hosts getting on the scoresheet on Thursday. They did conceded at home to Shamrock Rovers though, so my prediction is for both teams to score at 5/6 alongside a 1-1 draw at 11/2 for my correct score prediction.

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