Shakhtar Donetsk v Sevilla – Chornomorets Stadium at 20:05 live on BT Sport 2
This week sees the first leg of Europa League Semi Finals and back to back winners Sevilla, are on an unprecedented quest to claim their third Europa League title in succession.
Unai Emery’s team’s sole focus is the retention of their Europa League crown, especially now that Champions League qualification via La Liga is beyond them after a disappointing domestic campaign in which, they have not won a single away game!
Shakhtar Donetsk are currently sitting 2nd in the Ukrainian league, but they are nine points adrift of Dynamo Kiev in the title race. A shot at Europa League glory is within their grasp and even though they are due to play Kiev at the weekend, this home leg Semi Final will be their main focus.
Since Sevilla dropped back into the Europa League, after their woeful performance in the Champions League group stages, they have progressed through to this Semi Final without too many issues.
Although, their struggles away from home have still been dogging them in this competition as well. From the three road trips to Molde, Basel and Athletic Bilbao, they only managed one win but at least that was in the hardest & most recent game of the three, at Bilbao.
However, Sevilla’s recent form is not good, their recent record of P8 W4 D1 L5 does not inspire much confidence in their ability, despite their excellent Europa League record. On top of this, their hugely disappointing away form that has lasted all season long, will have the fans worried about this first leg trip to the Ukraine.
On the other hand, Shakhtar are in excellent form with a record of P8 W6 D2 L0 and at ‘home’ (they play in Lviv which, is a long way from Donetsk) this season they have only suffered three defeats, plus two of those came when hosting PSG and Real Madrid. Clearly, they should not be overawed by the visit of the Andalusian’s on Thursday night.
The Asian Handicap line for this match has been set at +/-0 (DNB) and that looks tempting enough for me, as Sevilla’s wretched away form is unlikely to improve in the Ukrainian Thursday night.
Although, I do think that ultimately Sevilla will prove to be too strong over the two legs and should progress to their third consecutive Europa League Final, I am expecting it to be a close battle. Hopefully, they might well have to overturn a slender first leg deficit to reach the Final in Basel this season.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Shakhtar Donetsk +/-0 at 1.98
Prices correct at the time of writing.
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