Our prediction for this Europa Conference League match:
Thursday’s Conference League qualifier at Estadio de Sao Miguel pits together Santa Clara and Olimpija Ljubljana. Santa Clara faced no difficulties in the double-header against Shkupi, and given their displays in pre-season, it is no wonder the bookies see them as favourites to win the first leg. Os Acoreanos have been impressive at the back of late, and we are positive they will rely on their soli defence in Thursday’s clash.
Silva Costa is widely expected to lead the line for the Portuguese outfit. Olimpija, on the other hand, are brimming with confidence following a 3-1 win over their bitter rivals Maribor. The Slovenian outfit are tough to beat at home, but given their anything but good away record in European competitions, we are tempted to put our money on Santa Clara. The good news for the visitors is that Timi Elsnik has overcome his injury.
Highlighted Player (Fabio Cardoso):
Fabio Cardoso is a Portuguese defender who was born in Agueda (Portugal) on April 19, 1994. Cardoso started his youth career at his hometown club Agueda, but in 2008 he continued his development at Benfica. After scoring three goals in 55 appearances for Benfica B, he spent the 2015/2016 season on loan at Pacos Ferreira.
In the summer of 2017, he signed a four-year deal with Vitoria Setubal, but he spent only one season at Estadio do Bonfim. Cardoso joined Scottish club Glasgow Rangers in June 2017, signing a three-year contract with the club for a fee of around £1.3 million.
The Portuguese defender, though, made no more than 12 appearances for the Gers, joining Santa Clara in the summer of 2018. Fabio Cardoso has four caps with the Portugal U20 team, but he has yet to earn a call-up for the senior team. His primary position is a centre-back, but he is often used as a left-back. His preferred foot is right.
Highlighted Team (Santa Clara):
Santa Clara are a professional football club that compete in the Portuguese Primeira Liga. Os Acoreanos (The Azoreans) play their home games at Estadio de Sao Miguel, the venue which can hold up to 13,277 people.
Estadio de Sao Miguel was built in 1930. Santa Clara are the only team from the Azores Islands to compete in the Primeira Liga. Os Acoreanos are well known for its close connection with famoust Portuguese club Benfica, with the two teams sharing the very same crest until recently.
Santa Clara wear red shirts and white shorts when playing at home ground, whilst white is the dominant colour of their away kit. Os Acoreanos participated in the Intertoto Cup in the 2002/2003 season, with the team beating FC Shirak in round 1 5-3 on aggregate, while suffering a loss to Teplice 2-9 on agg. in round 2. CD Operario from Lagao are considered Santa Clara’s fiercest rivals.