We’ve got five Europa League predictions from Thursday’s play-offs first-leg games and will land an 18.62 accumulator if they all come in.
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FC Zurich and Hearts to draw @ 3.7
Hears were a long way clear of the rest when third behind Celtic and Rangers in the Scottish Premiership last season and have started the new campaign well, picking up two wins and a derby draw at Hibs. Asked if the Jambos are now up to speed ahead of their trip to Switzerland, head coach Robbie Neilson said: “We’re getting there.” FC Zurich eased past Linfield but were knocked out of the Champions League by Qarabag and are without a win in five domestic fixtures after drawing 1-1 at FC Winterthur on Sunday.
Ferencvaros to beat Shamrock @ 1.47
The green and whites have been erratic so far this term, putting in one good performance and one moderate one versus Tobol, Slovan Bratislava and Qarabag. Unfortunately, that wasn’t quite good enough to keep their Champions League dreams alive but if on their best behaviour, Ferencvaros should be a class apart from Shamrock. Ivory Coast forward Franck Boli and Mali front man Adama Traore have both been amongst the goals of late and will be chasing more here.
Malmo to beat Sivasspor @ 1.8
The Swedes failed to match last season’s run to the Champions League group stage but welcomed a drop in class when beating Dudelange of Luxembourg 5-2 on aggregate. Malmo made it as far as the knockout rounds in 2019 and 2020, when only ousted by Chelsea and Wolfsburg, and caretaker manager Andreas Georgson will be eyeing another bold showing to boost his profile. The Blues have won four of their last five Allsvenskan games and recently signed Ghana midfielder Emmanuel Lomotey, so we’re keen to keep them on side in our Europa League predictions.
Ludogorets to beat Vilnius Zalgiris @ 1.43
The Eagles found Dynamo Zagreb too hot to handle in the third round of Champions League qualifiers but should find this company more conducive. Ludogorets have featured in the Europa League group stage for the past five seasons and have made a good start to their domestic campaign in Bulgaria, with three wins and a draw at CSKA Sofia. Zalgiris did well to get the better of Malmo in the Champions League but a 5-0 thrashing at Bodo Glimt exposed their limitations.
Gent to beat Omonia Nicosia @ 1.33
The Buffalos made it through to the knockout rounds of this competition three seasons ago and gave Roma a good test before bowing out. Gent had more home wins than any other team in Belgium’s top flight last term and have made a solid start this season, securing back-to-back victories after opening up with a couple of draws. Morocco forward Tarik Tissoudali picked up a knock last month but Hugo Cuypers has helped to fill the void by netting in three straight games.
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