Liberec surprised a bit in the first 1. Liga round when the side took all three points away to Ostrava in a 1:2 victory last weekend.
They actually conceded first, in the ninth minute already, however, the team reacted really fine in the second halftime being very concrete with the ball to their feet. They had a lot of luck as well, since the team got the winning goal in the fourth minute of added time, while the players of Ostrava have missed the penalty kick towards the end.
The home side won’t be counting at defender Fukala, while midfielder Malinsky remains doubtful for now.
Ararat from Armenia have existed for a very short time but already got their biggest victory so far when AIK was defeated in Yerevan. The swedes got a terrible start, by conceding a penalty and also a red card after only 13 minutes of play. Despite being one man short in a very hot humid weather, AIK saw plenty of chances to score and eventually equalized. The joy would only last for a few minutes before Ararat scored a tap in goal to make it 2-1 which was the end result.
A completely new match is expected in Sweden, and AIK are happy to be able to counter the shameful result from a Swedish perspective.
Valetta’s results in Europe are nothing special during the latest seasons. Dudelange were also part of this group, a little mediocre team without any real class and a lot of early exits, although they showed some positive vibes during 2016 and 2017 when they were eliminated closely by Qarabag and APOEL. But during the last season, everything changed after they were eliminated by MOL Vidi in the CL qualifiers. In EL they had really heroic performances after they eliminated Drita, Legia Warsaw and FC Cluj. Well, in the groups with Betis, Milan and Olympiakos it’s not so hard to imagine they had huge problems, but also succeeded to take a point at home against Betis.
Fluminense took just a point in away game to Chapecoense last time out, before the international break. They had much more of the ball possession and initiative, but nothing much more concrete compared to the opponents.
The team now has four consecutive matches in Serie A without a victory and overall, six official matches with no win, combined with the Brazilian Cup and Copa Sudamericana.
They are far below the expected positions, having the same number of points as red zone placed teams and no doubt that this international break came in the best possible moment for them.
Sligo comes from a goalless game last Friday night away to Shamrock Rovers. That can be described as a very positive outcome since the home side was an almost sure favorite on the paper before the game.
Needless to say, the hosts were the ones who had much more of the ball control and chances created but weren’t concrete in front of opponents goal at all. Sligo remains in the middle of the table without much of worries for the remainder of the season.
They had a friendly match using a rotated squad last Monday evening winning over English side Accrington 1:0.
Maccabi Haifa came second in the league the previous season, ending it with thirty-one point less than the champions from Maccabi Tel Aviv.
It’s obvious that the quality and a structural difference in the club is huge, while the side can’t expect much more this season either – but the second position in the brightest possible way.
Anyhow, they will surely try to go as far as possible in the qualifiers, trying for a group stage. Last time they played in the group stage was back in 2013/14 season. As most notable friendlies so far, they had a 3:0 win over Waasland-Beveren and a goalless game against St. Truiden.
Ferencvaros was a dominant force in the Hungarian OTP Bank Liga last season, finishing it with thirteen points more than MOL Vidi that ended as second.
The team has been by far the most effective side in the league, scoring nineteen goals more than the second most effective, which was their trademark all season long as they tend to play very offensively.
Ludogorets looked pretty decent in their friendly matches, winning over Slovenian side Triglav, Qarabag and Botosani, losing out to Shakhtar Donetsk. The team has won the Bulgarian Supercup match last Wednesday evening winning over Lokomotiv Plovdiv 2:0, thanks to goals from Tchibota and Lukoki.
Algeria was one of the most convincing nations in the group stage, winning all three their matches.
They looked strong enough against Kenya, winning in the most difficult game against Senegal too in quite an equal game, while the side overrun Tanzania with a rotated team 3:0 in the last round too. This way they have shown great variety in attack and also plenty of quality on their bench.
No reason for Algerians not to field their best XI here after resting some key players int eh third round.
Egypt didn’t have much of a task to progress the group, but also their strength was obvious too. After starting victory over Zimbabwe 1:0, the hosting nation outplayed D. R. Congo and Uganda, each with a 2:0 result.
They weren’t completely firm at the back as the results show, but anyway, have deserved that first position without any doubt, it was simply enough for this stage.
South Africans didn’t show many positive things during the group stage, but neither their individual quality reflects them much better.
Valarenga had a very good display last Sunday evening when the team won on the road to Haugesund with a 1:4 result in impressive style.
They had a 3:0 lead even before the halftime, in a match where they have shown great efficiency out of the chances created. It was their first victory after three rounds, as the side looks now to get back into the race for the European exit.
The hosts keep missing defender Tollas (10/0) and forward Vega (8/2) due to injuries.