Our prediction for this Champions League match:
Thanks to a 1-1 draw with Valletta in Malta Kukesi booked their place in the Champions League second qualifying round. Kukesi eliminated the Malta champions on away goal rule and it has to be noted that they are on an eight game winless run in all competitions ahead of the visit of Qarabag. The hosts are likely to rely on their solid defence in the first leg, but Wednesday’s football match will be anything but a walk in the park for the Albanian side. The Azeri side, on the other hand, proved their worth in the double-header against Olimpija and they are definitely capable of making life difficult for Kukesi in Shkoder. Qarabag have been impressive at the back of late, which is yet another reason why we predict fans will see a low-scoring affair at Stadiumi Loro Borici. You should bear in mind that under 2.5 goals were netted in Qarabag’s last seven games.
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.