Our prediction for this Champions League match:
After eliminating Riga on penalties in the Champions League first qualifying round, Dundalk will be looking to move one step closer to booking their place in the group stages of the elite competition when they welcome Qarabag at their Oriel Park on Tuesday evening. The Lilywhites managed to keep six clean sheets in previous eight games in all competitions and they are likely to rely on their rock-solid defence in the first leg.
Qarabag, on the other hand, proved their worth in the double-header against Albanian champions Partizani, with the team keeping a clean sheet in both legs (0-0, 2-0). Considering that the Azerbaijan champions look solid at the back as well, a low-scoring affair is on the cards at Oriel Park. It has to be noted that the two sides have never met before in a competitive match.
Highlighted Player (Richard):
Richard is a Brazilian footballer who plays as a midfielder at Qarabag of Azerbaijan. Richard Almeida de Oliveira was born on March 20, 1989 in Sao Paulo, Brazil and he started his senior career at Santo Andre. After making only four appearances in the league for the Brazilian club, he signed a loan deal with Portuguese side Gil Vicente.
In 2012 he moved to Azerbaijan, signing a contract with Qarabag and he has been playing for the Atilar ever since. Richard impressed in his debut season with the club as he scored 13 goals in 30 appearances in the national championship for Qarabag. The 177-cm tall player made his Azerbaijan debut on June 10, 2017 in a 1-0 loss to Northern Ireland.
His main position is central midfield, but he is capable of playing as both attacking midfielder and a left winger as well. It has to be noted that Richard’s contract with Qarabag should expire on June 30, 2018.
Highlighted Team (Qarabag):
Over the years Qarabag have established themselves as one of the best teams in Azerbaijan. The club was founded in 1951 and they were playing under the name of Mehsul back then. Qarabag won their first trophy in the national championship in 1993, beating Khazar Sumgayit in the title game.
In the 2015/2016 season they won their fourth domestic trophy, with the team finishing the season 22 points clear of second-placed Zira. Qarabag participated in the 2016/2017 Champions League qualifiers, but they were more than unfortunate to suffer a loss to Viktoria Plzen in the two-legged tie. The Azerbaijan outfit were beaten by the Czechs on away goal rule and, as a result, they made it to the Europa League playoffs.
Thanks to a win over Goteborg in the double-header Qarabag made it to the knockout stages of the competition. The Horsemen play their home games at Azersun Arena and their home colours are black. Qarabag play their away games in white kits.