Our prediction for this Champions League match:
A place in the Champions League second qualifying round will be at stake when Partizani Tirana and Qarabag face each other in the two-legged tie. Partizani Tirana won the national championship in style last season, with the team finishing the process 11 points clear of second-placed Kukesi. The Albanian outfit are eager to record a good result in the elite competition as well, but they are seen as underdogs in the double-header against Qarabag.
Over the years Gurban Gurbanov’s troops have established themselves as the dominant force in the Azerbaijan top flight and seeing that the coach can count on a number of high-profile players, we believe that there is a big value in betting on the visitors. A man to keep an eye on in the away team will be Azerbaijan rising star Mahir Elmeri, who scored 16 goals in the national championship last season.
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.