We’ve prepared for you a very interesting three-match preview that among others contains a northern derby between the champions of Faroe Islands and Iceland and a Balkan’s neighbors’ derby between Serbian and Montenegrin champions. Great rivalries will be addressed in this second qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League and the winners will gain some bragging rights.
Also, these games will probably present some high-risk matchups as the fans of some of these teams are not really sold on a fair and square support from the stands especially when the politics factor is involved. Nevertheless, we are in for a treat when it comes to the soccer matchups this week, but we’ll try to add a frosting with some quality betting picks.
TNS (Wal) vs. Rijeka (Cro)
Three-Way: 1: TNS +1000; X: +463 Draw; Rijeka -286
Spread +1.5: TNS -101; Rijeka -102
Total +3: Over +104; Under -120
THE NEW SAINTS
The Welsh champions The New Saints team managed to advance to the second qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League competition after eliminating Gibraltar’s champion in the first round 4:3 in aggregate. They defeated the representatives of the newly founded country 2:1 at home but after the 90 minutes of play on the road, the result was 2:1 for the opponents. Advancement to the next stage was secured after Scott Quigley scored a winner in the extra time (104th minute). The first leg in the second round didn’t go well as they were defeated by probably much stronger Croatian champions Rijeka, 2:0 on the road.
During the offseason, four new players were added to the roster including central midfielder Tom Holland who came from U23 Swansea squad. On the other side, centre-back Mihai Leca left the team as a free agent. Manager Carl Darlington has his entire roster available for the rematch.
Debut in the UEFA Champions League went very well for the first time Croatian Champions Rijeka team as they recorded a 2:0 win over their Welsh opponents. One scored goal each by Josip Misic and Florentin Matei were enough to secure a solid deposit before the rematch and the next stage presents a realistic expectation at the moment. Team is certainly inexperienced at this level of the competition but they certainly posses the quality that is needed to go very far, maybe even to the group stage.
Team sold one of their last season’s best players attacking midfielder Franko Andrijasevic to Belgium side KAA Gent for a fee of 4.25 Million Euros while also Mihael Rebernik and Bernardo Matic left the team on a free transfer. On the other side they strengthened the roster with signings of defender Josip Elez who was paid 500.000 Euros (from Lazio) and centre-forward Heber who was paid 450.000 Euros (from Slaven Belupo). Manager Matjaz Kek will have his entire roster avialible for Tuesday.
TNS (Wal) vs. Rijeka (Cro) – Match Prediction:
My prediction here is another victory by the Croatian champion because they’ll enter this clash without the pressure that was present in the debut. However, I don’t expect too many goals so I am taking the under 3 goals in this one.
MY PICK: Under 3 goals (-120)
Vikingur (Fai) vs. Hafnafjordur (Ice).
Three-Way: 1: Vikingur +369; X: +246 Draw; 2: Hafnafjordur +100
Spread +0.5: Vikingur -106; Hafnafjordur +102
Total +2.5: Over +121; Under -135
The Faroe Islands’ champion Vikingur Gota team secured the second qualifying round berth after defeating the Kosovo’s champion Trepca’89 team 6:2 on aggregate (2:1 win at home, 4:1 win on the road). The hero of the first round for the Vikings was striker Solvi Vatnhamar who scored three of six total goals for his team.
The first leg in the second round of the Champions League was also pretty successful as they recorded a 1:1 draw on the road. If the team advances to the third qualifying round, it will be the furthest stage that any team from the Faroe Islands has reached in the history of the UEFA Champions League.
There were no new signings during the offseason except two players (midfielders Magnus Jarnskor and Hedin Hansen) got back to the team from their loan spells. Jarnskor was then sent on a loan for another season. Head coach Samal Erik Hentze will not have in his disposal midfielder Hans Djurhuus and striker Andreas Lava Olsen because of the indirect card suspensions.
The Icelandic champion Hafnafjordur team was counting on a certain win in the first leg at their home venue Kaplakriki and the things looked good when Emil Pallson scored an opener at the beginning of the second half (49th minute) but the players’ and fans’ excitement received a big hit after Adeshina Lawal scored a penalty kick equalizer 17 minutes before the final whistle. Now, what seem to be a lucky draw can easily turn into a nightmare but I think that team still has a good chance of advancing to the next stage.
Similar as their opponents, there were no new signings during the offseason except four players getting back from their loan spells in other teams. On the other side, right-back twenty three years old Jonathan Hendrickx left the team and signed for Portuguese team Leixhoes for an undisclosed transfer fee. Centre-forward Kristjan Floki Finnbogason will not be available for the Tuesday’s rematch because of the indirect card suspension.
Vikingur (Fai) vs. Hafnafjordur (Ice) – Match Prediction:
One of the most exciting matchups of the round as both team posses equally realistic chances of advancing to the next round of the Champions League. By my opinion slight advantage goes to the visiting team.
MY PICK: Hafnafjordur (+100)
Buducnost (Mne) vs. Partizan (Srb)
Three-Way: 1: Buducnost +552; X: +325 Draw; 2: Partizan -159
Spread +1: Buducnost -111; Partizan +106
Total +2.5: Over -111; Under +104
The three times Montenegrin champions Buducnost Podgorica team recorded a solid fist leg performance in Belgrade but the ending result was more that disappointing as they conceded two second half goals and failed to score one at least.
Now they find themselves in a very difficult position and although they still have some small chances of seeing the next stage of the Champions League competition, the reality is that they’ll probably be eliminated after this round, and by no one else than their big neighbor state rivals, Partizan.
Team was very active during the offseason in the transfer market as eight new players arrived and six left. Most notable acquisition is striker Miljan Vlaisavljevic who came from FK Sutjeska Niksic while on the other side centre-forward Goran Vujovic signed for the Albanian side KF Skenderbeu. Manager Dragan Kazic will not have his entire roster available as defender Dominique Correia has some Knee afflictions.
The Serbian champions FK Partizan Belgrade managed to crack the Buducnost’s opposition only after they were awarded with a penalty kick in the 53rd minute of the match.
After Uros Djurdjevic score, Leonardo managed to tuck in a second one and give his team a solid deposit before the rematch in Podgorica. Fans and the players probably have their minds set to the next round but if they get their guard down they might get surprised and jeopardize the third qualifying round berth.
Team sold two young prospects during the offseason as defender Nikola Milenkovic and striker Dusan Vlahovic signed for Italian side Fiorentina for a fee worth 6.60 Million Euros combined. On the other side they paid 1.10 Million Euros to Slovan Bratislava for attacking midfielder Seydouba Soumah and 350.000 Euros to KVC Westerloo for centre-back Nemanja Miletic. Mohamed El-Monir (Red card suspension), Uros Djurdjevic (Indirect card suspension) and Dusan Vlahovic (no eligibility) are unavailable for the rematch.
Buducnost (Mne) vs. Partizan (Srb) – Match Prediction:
When it comes to the team that will advance to the next round, Partizan definitely has the upper hand but I think that Buducnost has the juice to score at least one goal, which is why I am taking the Both teams to score YES pick.
MY PICK: Both teams to score YES (-105)
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