Our prediction for this Champions League match:
All eyes will be on Stade Louis II when Monaco and Shakhtar Donetsk face each other in the Champions League play-offs, first leg. Les Rouges et Blancs did well to beat Sparta Prague in the third qualifying round, and we are positive that they will stick to their attacking style of play. Both Krepin Diatta and Guillermo Maripan have recovered from their respective injuries, while Russia international Aleksandr Golovin should be fit to face Shakhtar on Tuesday evening.
Wissam Ben Yedder is likely to keep his place in the starting XI. The Miners, on the other hand, faced no difficulties in the double-header against Genk. Considering that the Ukrainian vice-champions looked sharp in front of goal in the previous qualifying round, we are tempted to put our money on over 2.5 goals. Shakhtar midfielder Pedrinho is out of contention with a hamstring problem.
Highlighted Player (Djibril Sidibé):
Born in Troyes, Djibril Sidibe made his first football steps at his hometown club. Having excelled throughout the youth ranks, Sidibe was rewarded with his professional debut in 2010. Two years later he moved to Lille where he established himself as one of the biggest prospects in French football.
A 2016 move to Ligue 1 giants Monaco came as a reward for his impressive qualities. Sidibe is a solid right-back who is great at picking out passes, especially with crosses. A determined individual, Sidibe does not easily get caught out in a wide space. His impressive footwork make him a difficult player to play against going forward which he has a knack for.
Monaco are expected to be another stepping stone in his career and it won’t be too long before the World Cup winning French international has made a move to one of Europe’s top sides.
Highlighted Team (Shakhtar Donetsk):
Despite the fact that they were founded back in 1936, Shakhtar Donetsk were struggling to win the Ukrainian Premier League trophy until 2002. The Miners have established themselves as the dominant force in Ukrainian football and it has to be noted that they won their ninth domestic trophy in 2014.
Shakhtar Donetsk were playing at Donbass Arena in the past, but due to war in Donbass the club temporarily moved to Arena Lviv. In 2009 the Miners won the UEFA Cup trophy under Romanian boss Mircea Lucescu, beating Werder Bremen in the title game. Croatian full back Dario Srna was named the man of the match. Dynamo Kiev are considered Shakhtar Donetsk’s main rivals and there have always been fireworks in meetings between the two sides.
Shakhtar have a rivalry with Metalurh Donetsk as well and the two local rivals face each other in the Donetsk Derby. Chelsea ace Willian, Manchester United star Mkhitaryan and Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho all played for Shakhtar in the past.