Our prediction for this Europa Conference League match:
Roma play host to CSKA Sofia at their Stadio Olimpico in the opening match of their Europa Conference League campaign. The Giallorossi are on a five-game winning run in all competitions, and, no doubt, they are high on confidence ahead of Thursday’s clash. Jose Mourinho wants to win everything, and we are positive that his men will go all guns blazing at the Bulgarian outfit. Wing-back Spinazzola remains in the recovery room, while both El Shaarawy and Shomurodov are pushing for a start.
CSKA Sofia, on the other hand, booked their place in the Conference League group stages by beating Plzen of Czech Republic after extra time. The Bulgarians, though, will have a much bigger fish to fry in the “Eternal City”, and we do not believe that they are capable of shocking the in-form Romans in the Group C opener.
Highlighted Player (Nikola Kalinic):
Nikola Kalinic is a product of Hajduk Split’s youth school. The 187-cm-tall striker scored 32 goals in 59 appearances for Hajduk at senior level and he played for the likes of Pula and Sibenik in Croatia as well. In 2009 he moved to Blackburn Rovers for fee of £6 million.
Nikola Kalinic made his Blackburn Rovers debut against Sunderland on 22 August, 2009 and he scored his first goal for the Riversiders against Peterborough United in the League Cup. After making 44 league appearances for Blackburn Rovers, the Croatian attacker joined Dnipro in 2011 and he played for the Ukrainian outfit until 2015.
Kalinic signed a four-year deal with Fiorentina on 15 August, 2015 and he impressed in the 2015/2016 Serie A campaign, scoring 12 goals in 36 games. The Fiorentina striker made two appearances for Croatia at the 2016 European Championship in France and it has to be noted that he found the net in a 2-1 win over Spain in the group stages of the competition.
Highlighted Team (CSKA Sofia):
CSKA Sofia are a Bulgarian football club that welcome their rivals at Bulgarian Army Stadium. The Armymen are well known for their red shirts, while they wear white jerseys on the travels. The Reds won their 31st national championship in the 2007/08 season, with the team finishing the process 16 points clear of the second-place Levski Sofia.
CSKA have won 20 Bulgarian Cup titles (last in 2016). Levski Sofia are considered the club’s fiercest rivals, and there have always been fireworks in matches between the two teams. CSKA made it to the Champions League semis on two occasions.
In the 1966/67 campaign the Armymen were more than unfortunate not to beat Inter in the semifinals, with the team losing to Bayern Munchen 7-4 (on agg.) in their second attempt to go all the way in the elite competition. CSKA Sofia’s home ground was opened in 1967, and it can hold up to 22,995 spectators.