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PAOK has yet to taste defeat in UEFA Europa League Group C but one thinks that the Greek team will lose at Krasnodar and suffer a big blow to its qualification prospects.
The beauty of this batch of UEFA Europa League games is that the reverse fixtures took place just a fortnight ago so one has a heap of recent direct form lines to assess. Krasnodar drew 1-1 at PAOK and, at the halfway stage of UEFA Europa League Group C, the onus will be on the Greek side to win even though it is away from home and a poor traveller.
PAOK has won only one of its last nine UEFA Europa League road matches and that was courtesy of two late Stefanos Athanasiadis goals at Dinamo Minsk, hardly one of the continent’s powers. Statistically, PAOK was inferior to Krasnador in Greece two weeks ago and that does not bode well for the Greek team when one considers that its Russian opponent has won six and drawn three of its nine home games across all competitions since slumping to a 0-1 loss to Spartak Moskva early in the Russian Premier League.
Krasnodar is trading at odds of -118 with SkyBet to beat PAOK on Thursday and one rates that option as the best punt on a UEFA Europa League card that is full of opportunities. PAOK’s UEFA Europa League away matches this season have resulted in draws at Brondby, Qabala and Spartak Trnava, plus a loss at Lokomotiva Zagreb. Krasnodar is a level or two higher than PAOK’s aforementioned road opponents.
Like Krasnodar, Besiktas is coming off a UEFA Europa League away draw that one thinks it is capable of parlaying into a home win. On the balance of play two weeks ago, Besiktas had the slightest of edges over Lokomotiv Moskva – for example, the Black Eagles enjoyed 60 per cent possession – and the Turkish side will welcome a Russian team minus its banned captain, Vedran Corluka, who was sent off last time out.
Besiktas does not drop too many points at home and it faces a Lokomotiv Moskva side that is going through its roughest patch of form for six months. Lokomotiv Moskva has fallen to three consecutive domestic defeats since it drew 1-1 at home to Besiktas in UEFA Europa League Group H last month.
Coral is listing odds of -115 about Besiktas, which is two points behind Lokomotiv Moskva in UEFA Europa League Group H, posting a home victory and moving to the top of the ladder going into the final two rounds of games.
Fiorentina paid the price for fielding its second string at home to Lech Poznan a fortnight ago but, on another night, that UEFA Europa League Group I match would have resulted in a comfortable win for the Purples. Fiorentina may have had its reserves on duty but the Purples had 18 attempts to five of Lech Poznan and the home team won the corner-kick count 12 to two. However, Fiorentina wasted a series of golden chances and Lech Poznan got away with a 2-1 road victory.
Paulo Sousa has invested a lot in Fiorentina’s UEFA Europa League campaign so one cannot see him doing anything less than fielding a competitive side at Lech Poznan because a victory in Poland would put the Purples back on track to reach the knockout stage as one of Group I’s top two.
PaddyPower are quoting odds of -137 about Fiorentina getting the better of Lech Poznan in UEFA Europa League Group I. Belenenses held Lech Poznan to a 0-0 draw in Poland, the same Portuguese team that could live with a fired-up Fiorentina in Lisbon so one is willing to take a punt on the Purples at what one rates as a decent price.
Finally, a red flag for punters who are considering backing Lazio to win its UEFA Europa League Group G away game versus Rosenborg. Lazio was far too good for Rosenborg in Italy two weeks ago but two factors – its position at the top of the pool ladder and its upcoming Italian Serie A derby against Roma – means that one rates other sides more appealing.
Krasnodar to beat PAOK
5th November 18:00 GMT
Besiktas to beat Lokomotiv Moskva
5th November 16:00 GMT
Fiorentina to beat Lech Poznan
5th November 20:05 GMT
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