Villarreal are the only side to have claimed one of the qualification places from Group A, and with Maccabi Tel Aviv resigned to a fourth place finish, the final qualifying spot will be decided on Thursday between Slavia Prague and Astana. The hosts from the Czech Republic have one more point from their five games than the Kazakhstan side, as well as the home advantage in this weeks final round of group games.
The two clubs met for the very first time this season when they played out a 1-1 draw in Kazakhstan. The visitors took the lead after just eighteen minutes when Cameroon’s Ngadeu-Ngadjui converted a Sýkora pass, but the sides went in level at the break thanks to a forty-second minute strike from Tomasov. The scoreline remained the same despite both teams having chances to pinch all three points, and in the end a draw was probably a fair result.
Heading into this weeks final round of group games it’s Slavia Prague who hold the title of form favourites after the hosts won three of their last six matches, drew one, and lost two. Astana have been more of an all or nothing side during that same period of matches, winning three and losing three, which leaves them behind Slavia in the form guide.
Both teams have seen three of their last six matches produce under 2.5 goals goals, which suggests we could be in for a low scoring game on Thursday, especially with so much on the line. A draw would be enough for the home side to claim second place in the group, and we don’t believe Slavia will push the boat out on Thursday.
Slavia have only scored six goals so far in the group stage, but they have conceded just five, which is the same amount that Villarreal have let in. Astana, on the other hand, have scored nine times and conceded seven which suggests they are more likely to push for the win.
We’re confident that Slavia’s strong defence will once again produce a solid display on Thursday, with under 2.5 goals being scored during the ninety minutes. A draw would suit the home side and we believe they will be happy to play for that result rather than push for the victory. As for a final score, well, we can see both sides scoring in this one, and for the game to end in a 1-1 draw.
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