Ukraine v Slovenia – Arena Lviv at 17:00 live on Sky Sports 1
In the third of four European Championship play-offs, the Ukraine host Slovenia in Lviv on Saturday evening. The Ukraine are looking to make only their 3rd appearance in a major International tournament and hold a poor record in previous play-off matches.
The two nations meet at 5PM tomorrow after finishing 3rd in their respective qualification groups, with the Ukraine 1.57 favourites to reach the finals next summer despite having never beaten their opponents Slovenia.
Mykhailo Fomenko’s side finished behind Spain and Slovakia in Group C on 19 points, 3 points behind 2nd spot with a record of W6 D1 L3. In their 10 matches they scored just 14 and relied on their strength in defence, conceding just 4 times.
The Ukraine are looking to inflict a first defeat on Slovenia in 5 attempts and are 1.64 to take lead into the second leg on Wednesday. They have fell short in play-offs for the World Cup in 1998, 2002, 2010 and 2014 as well as being knocked out by tomorrow’s opponents at this stage in 2000, when Slovenia booked themselves a place at the finals in the Netherlands and Belgium.
Slovenia were in England’s group and finished with a record of W5 D1 L4, 5 points behind Switzerland in 2nd and 14 behind England in 1st. They scored 18 goals and conceded 11 in one of the more easier groups in qualifying and may find the Ukraine tough to break down, especially in Lviv tomorrow evening.
Slovenia have only one other appearance in the European Championship finals, when they defeated the hosts in 2000, but also qualified for the World Cup in 2002 and 2010 via the play-offs.
The Ukraine won 3 of their 5 matches at home in qualifying, losing to Slovakia and Spain whilst Slovenia won just 2 of their away games. Those wins can against Lithuania and San Marino, the Ukraine is a step up from both of those minnows.
The Ukraine won two of their 3 matches by 2 goals or more and the Asian Handicap betting line for this one is -0.75. I am confident they have the class to defeat Slovenia and they stand a good chance of taking a 2 goal lead into the 2nd leg. Backing them at 1.85 -0.75 will see us pick up a half win if they win by a single goal and a full profit by 2 or more.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Ukraine -0.75 at 1.85
Prices correct at time of writing.
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