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One could not understand why Spain was the underdog for its UEFA European U19 Championship semi-final versus France last week – the Spanish kids won 2-0 – and one is perplexed as to why Cukaricki is such big odds to win at Qabala in its UEFA Europa League second qualifying round second leg this week.
WilliamHill is quoting Cukaricki at odds of +240 to beat Qabala on Thursday and, given both the state of the UEFA Europa League second qualifying round tie and the manner in which the first leg played out, one is taken aback that Cukaricki is the outsider rather than the favourite.
The UEFA Europa League second qualifying round first leg between Cukaricki and Qabala was a very one-sided affair. Cukaricki controlled the game from the first whistle to the last whistle as one can see from the statistics that UEFA collated and posted on its official website. Cukaricki had 18 attempts to Qabala’s three, with the home team having five efforts on target compared to the away side’s zero. Cukaricki forced eight corner kicks to Qabala’s zero and such was the pressure that the home team exerted that the away side collected five yellow cards to its host’s one.
Cukaricki beat Qabala 1-0 in their UEFA Europa League second qualifying round first leg courtesy of a 53th-minute penalty kick that Nikola Stoiljkovic converted successfully. It was scant reward for Cukaricki’s complete and utter domination of a match that, based on the statistics, should have been something like a three- or four-goal win for the home side.
If Cukaricki had beaten Qabala, say, 3-0 and it could not afford to take its foot off the gas in the reverse fixture then one thinks that it would be the clear favourite. Well, one is taking the view that Cukaricki deserved to win 3-0 and, because the UEFA Europa League second qualifying round tie is in the balance at 1-0, Vladan Milojevic’s team have to treat the return game with considerable respect.
Cukaricki should have a fitness advantage over Qabala since the Serbiab Super Liga season kicked off last weekend when Milojevic’s men cruised to a 4-0 victory at Vojvodina that Stoiljkovic iced with an injury-time goal after Andrija Pavlovic had netted a hat-trick in the space of 30 minutes. Cukaricki has played four competitive matches across all competitions this term and it is yet to either lose or concede a goal, with its UEFA Europa League results including a 1-0 win at Domzale three weeks ago.
Qabala was third in last season’s Azerbaijani Premyer Liqa but its new domestic campaign will not get under way until next month so it is reasonable to assume that it is not as far advanced in its development as Cukaricki. Qabala’s home form in the Azerbaijani Premyer Liqa was just the sixth best of the nine sides that completed the full fixture list – Araz had its results wiped from the record books.
It is not often that one looks at a football betting market these days and finds something that does not look right but that is what happened when one reviewed the UEFA Europa League second qualifying round second legs. Cukaricki is not a sure thing – after all, it does not need to beat Qabala on the road to qualify for the next phase – but it is over the odds because, on the evidence of last week’s game and many other factors, it should be the favourite. One thinks that Cukaricki should be trading at odds around the +140 mark.
Cukaricki to beat Qabala
23rd July 17:00 GMT
Where to Bet: WilliamHill
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