Napoli v Dnipro – Stadio San Paolo at 20:05
Napoli host Dnipro tonight in the 1st leg of their Europa League semi final and are as short as 1.33 to win the match. They are competition favourties at a top price of 2.4 and are expected to breeze psst the Ukrainian side and set up a final with either Sevilla or Fiorentina. With Napoli odds against at -1.5 on the Asian Handicap betting market, it’s hard to turn that down despite Dnipro’s defensive record so far this campaign.
Napoli have lost just one match in their 12 Europa League matches this season, scoring 25 goals in the process. Partenopi have won 5 and drawn one at the Stadio San Paolo. 7 of their 8 wins in the competition have been by 2 goals or more making the 2.09 available to do the same this evening good value.
The Italians knocked out favourites Wolfsburg in the quarter finals in emphatic style, beating them in Germany 4-1 then drawing 2-2 at home, taking their foot off the gas a little. Rafael Benitez’s has got his side playing at their best at the business end of the competition.
All their focus will be on winning the Europa League to qualify for the Champions League next year as it is unlikely they will qualify through the league, currently in 4th place, 4 point behind Lazio in 3rd. A trophy and a UCL place would end Rafa’s spell in charge very successfully.
Dnipro are the surprise team in the last 4, to be honest they were a surprise to make it out of their group after picking up just 1 point in their first 3 group matches. Winning just 2 group games, they went through to the knockout stages with 7 points, the lowest total of the 24 teams.
Since the group stages however, they have knocked out Olympiakos, Ajax and Club Brugge, relying on their defence in what have been very tight ties. They have only scored 11 goals in their 12 matches but have kept clean sheets in 50% of their games.
Dnipro will go into this match with the same defensive strategy they have in all their away matches. They may need to attack more than they have done previously as relying on their home leg without an away goal will be a very brave tactic. Unfortunately for the Ukrainian’s, I don’t think they will score or be able to keep Napoli at bay.
I expect Napoli to show their quality and win this match comfortably, taking a big advantage into the second leg.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Napoli -1.5 @ 2.09
Prices correct at time of writing.
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