Fiorentina to Rush to Victory Over Belenenses

Belenenses 0-4 Fiorentina

Fiorentina was four goals too strong for Belenenses in the second round of UEFA Europa League Group I and one cannot see the Purples wasting any time in putting the Blues in their place given their upcoming Italian Serie A fixture.

A draw is all that Fiorentina requires to qualify for the UEFA Europa League knockout stage due to its head-to-head record against its biggest threat for Group I’s runner-up spot, Lech Poznan. But such is the gulf in class between Fiorentina and Belenenses that one expects the Purples to collect maximum points from their Thursday home game that will take place just three days before what is, on paper, their toughest assignment of the Italian Serie A season.

Fiorentina is away to Italian Serie A champion Juventus on Sunday, a match from which the Purples could really do with a positive result of either a win or a draw to boost their title challenge. Fiorentina has invested too much energy in its UEFA Europa League campaign not to care, so one expects the Purples to be 100 per cent focused on the task of not losing to Belenenses. However, one is equally sure that Fiorentina boss Paulo Sousa would love to have Thursday’s Group I game in the bag long before the final whistle so that he could give a breather to some of his star players.

SkyBet is offering standout odds of -125 that Fiorentina leads at both half time and full time of its UEFA Europa League Group I match versus Belenenses. Fiorentina scored two unanswered goals in each half of its 4-0 victory over Belenenses in Portugal two months ago, with the Purples having 69% possession and limiting their host to only one attempt on target in what was a one-sided contest. Also, Fiorentina has been Italian Serie A’s finest first-half team, leading nine of its 15 divisional games at the break and going on to convert eight of those leads into wins. Belenenses has the Portugese Primeira Liga’s second worst away record with numbers of zero wins, two draws, four losses and a dreadful goal difference of minus 14.

One’s second strongest UEFA Europa League fancy is another wager about which Sky Bet is the bookmaker quoting the best odds – over two and a half goals in Thursday’s Group L match between Partizan and Augsburg in which the latter has to win by at least two goals having rustled the net at least three times, an option that is available at a top price of -137 .

Partizan thrashed Augsburg 3-1 when the sides met in the second batch of UEFA Europa League Group L games so that is the head-to-head ledger about which the latter has to worry in addition to posting a road victory. Four of Partizan’s five UEFA Europa League Group L matches have gone over two and a half goals and Ausgburg’s games have an 80% strike rate as well. Thursday’s all-important match could develop into a shootout and one cannot understand why Sky Bet is going out of its way to lay over two and a half goals.

Finally, one was wrong to question Sporting’s commitment to the UEFA Europa League in the penultimate round of Group H games and one is hoping that the Jorge Jesus-coached team performs to its potential versus Besiktas on Thursday.

Besiktas is top of the UEFA Europa League Group H ladder but, if the section’s two Thursday matches result in wins for the favourite sides, Sporting and Lokomotiv Moskva will leapfrog the Senol Gunes-managed side. Sporting just about had the better of Besiktas in the reverse UEFA Europa League Group H fixture and, when all is said and done, Gunes has only seen his team beat whipping boy Skenderbeu up to now.

Sporting is trading at odds of -115 with Boylesports and anything less than a home win is highly likely to result in the Lions exiting the UEFA Europa League at the group stage.

Tips Summary 

Fiorentina HT/FT v Belenenses
10th December 20:05 GMT
Odds: -125

Partizan and Augsburg Over 2.5 goals
10th December 20:05 GMT
Odds: -137

Sporting to beat Besiktas
10th December 20:05 GMT
Odds: -115

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