Our prediction for this Champions League match:
Astana take on Dinamo Zagreb in the first leg of the Champions League third qualifying round. Astana did well to eliminate Midtjylland in previous round, but they will have a much bigger fish to fry in Tuesday’s football match against the Croatian champions. The Kazakhs are tough to beat at home, but we do not believe that they are capable of defeating Dinamo Zagreb, who impressed in the two-legged tie against Hapoel Be’er Sheva. The Croats outclassed the Israeli side at home, but the two teams played out a 2-2 draw in the return leg in Be’er Sheva and that is the main reason why we predict Astana and Dinamo Zagreb are going to play out a draw in Kazakhstan. It has to be noted that the two teams have never met before in European competitions.
Highlighted Player (Dmitri Shomko):
Born in Ekibastuz, Kazakhstan on March 19, 1990 Dmitri Andreievich Shomko is a defender who plays for Astana. Shomko is a product of his home-town club Ekibastuzets, but he started his senior career at Batyr Ekibastuz.
As expected, the 182-cm tall footballer returned to his boyhood club and it has to be noted that he made nine appearances in the league for Ekibastuzets. Dmitri Shomko then moved to Irtysh Pavlodar and he played for the Kazak club from 2009 to 2014. In 2011 he was sent on loan to Astana and three years later he signed a permanent deal with the Blue and Yellows. His main position is left-back, but he is used as a left midfielder as well.
Over the years Shomko has established himself as a first-team regular at Kazakhstan national football team and he made his debut for the Hawks on February 2, 2011 in a 1-1 draw with Belarus. Shomko came as a substitute for Nurgaliev in the 85th minute of the match. He has 17 caps for the U21 team as well.
Highlighted Team (Dinamo Zagreb):
Arguably the biggest club in Croatia and one of the most prominent football outfits in the Balkan region, Dinamo Zagreb have won 18 league titles, 11 of which came successively. Dinamo Zagreb have never been relegated to a lower tier of both Croatian and Yugoslav football.
Modri as they are called in Croatia are renowned for their impressive production line of youth footballers. Their highly organised football academy has so far produced world-class players such as Luka Modric, Mateo Kovacic, Marko Pjaca and many others. Dinamo Zagreb play their home matches at the Stadion Maksimir in front of 35,000 people.
The club lacked support during the last couple of seasons due to fans’ disagreement with club management, most notably notorious Zdravko Mamic, who is under investigation for long-lasting corruption, tax evasion and embezzlement. For the first time since 2015, Dinamo Zagreb will have the full support of their most faithful supporters in the Champions League.