Our prediction for this Europa Conference League match:
Astana play host to Partizani at their Astana Arena in the Conference League final qualifying round, first leg. Astana were hammered by Ludogorets in the Europa League double-header, but the bookies see them as favourites to beat Partizani in front of home fans. Keep in mind, though, that experienced midfielder Dusan Jovancic serves a one-game ban in the first leg.
The Albanians, on the other hand, faced no difficulties in the two-legged tie with Valmiera of Latvia, but they will have a much bigger fish to fry against Astana, who are a real force to be reckoned with at home. Eljon Sota limped off with injury in the 1-0 win over Valmiera, with fellow forward Eros Grezda being ready to step up. You should know that the two clubs meet for the first time ever in European competitions where Astana have gained more experience than Partizani.
Highlighted Team (Astana):
Astana are a Kazakh football club which was founded in 2009. The Blue and Yellows won their first domestic trophy in 2014, with the team finishing the regular part of the season in third place in the standings. However, thanks to their brilliant displays in the Championship round Astana won the national championship.
The big-spending Kazakh club have always been attracting high-profile footballers from Russia and Ukraine and it has to be noted that the likes of Yegor Titov, Andrey Tikhonov and Maksim Shatshikh played for the Blue and Yellows in the past. Nowadays Astana are considered the best football club in Kazakhstan and you should bear in mind that they won their third consecutive league title in 2016.
However, participating in the 2015/2016 Champions League group stages is considered the club’s biggest success. Astana faced the likes of Benfica, Atletico Madrid and Galatasaray in Group C and they collected 4 points from possible 18 in the process. It has to be noted that they shared the spoils with Diego Simeone’s men at their Astana Arena.