Our football match prediction:
Rijeka did remarkably well to win the national championship last term, but the Croatian champions have been struggling in all competitions this season. The Rijecki bijeli have slim chances of defending the domestic trophy and they sit in the ultimate position in Group D ahead of Thursday’s football match against AEK Athens. Matjaz Kek’s men experienced all sorts of problems at the back in a 4-1 loss to Austria Wien in their last group game and that is the main reason why we are not tempted to put our money on the Croatian outfit. Following a 2-1 win over Rijeka, AEK Athens played out a draw with their rivals in each of their previous three group games and they are widely expected to extend their unbeaten run in the group stages of the Europa League. AEK are more of a team than Rijeka and we predict that they will pick up all three points from Thursday’s game at Olympiako Stadio Spyros Louis.
Highligted Player (Sergio Araujo):
Sergio Araujo was born in Buenos Aires on 28 January, 1992 and, as expected, he started playing for his home-town club Boca Juniors. He made just 19 appearances for Boca in the league and he played for the likes of Barcelona B, Tigre and Las Palmas on loan in the past as well. The Argentine attacker scored 25 goals in 43 appearances for los Amarillos in the 2014/2015 Segunda Division campaign and despite the fact that he was linked with a move to Celtic and Real Sociedad, the club owners managed to sign a permanent deal with the former Boca Juniors footballer. Araujo has three caps for Argentina U23 team and he represented la Albiceleste at the 2009 FIFA U17 World Cup. It has to be noted that he scored the winner for Argentina in the opening match of the tournament against Honduras. Araujo scored six goals in eight appearances for the Argentina U17 team. The pacey attacker has a contract with Las Palmas which expires on 30 June, 2020.
Highlighted Team (Rijeka):
Founded on July 29, 1946 as Sportsko Drustvo Kvarner, Rijeka are a Croatian football club that have always been in Dinamo Zagreb’s shadow. Dinamo are undisputedly the biggest football club in Croatia, but Rijeka did well to put an end to their dominance in the HNL in the 2016/2017 season. The Rijecki bijeli won their first ever domestic trophy and, as a result, they made it to the Champions League qualifiers. However, Greek champions Olympiakos proved to be a big catch for Matjaz Kek’s troops in the play-offs for the group stages of the elite competition. Before the breakup of Yugoslavia Rijeka won two domestic cups (1977/1978, 1978/1979) and it has to be noted that they clinched their fourth Croatian Cup title in 2017, with the team beating Dinamo Zagreb in the final of the competition. Rijeka welcome their rivals at Stadion Rujevica and the capacity of the stadium is 8.279. The venue was opened in August 2, 2015.