Our prediction for this Europa League match:
Astana will be looking to make amends for a heavy 6-3 loss to Dynamo Brest when they take on Buducnost in the Europa League second qualifying round. The Kazakhstan champions failed to impress in the Champions League qualifiers, but they have enough quality to beat the Montenegrins at home ground. It has to be noted that Astana defeated Manchester United 2-1 in their last home game in the Europa League.
Buducnost, on the other hand, have been anything but impressive at the start of the new domestic campaign, with the team suffering a heavy 4-0 loss to Podgorica on the road. The Montenegro outfit suffered elimination to Zorya in the 2019/20 Europa League qualifiers, and we do not believe that they are capable of claiming a major scalp in Thursday’s clash. Buducnost continue their European journey in the Europa League following a 3-1 loss to Ludogorets in the Champions League qualifiers.
Highlighted Player (Dmitri Shomko):
Born in Ekibastuz, Kazakhstan on March 19, 1990 Dmitri Andreievich Shomko is a defender who plays for Astana. Shomko is a product of his home-town club Ekibastuzets, but he started his senior career at Batyr Ekibastuz.
As expected, the 182-cm tall footballer returned to his boyhood club and it has to be noted that he made nine appearances in the league for Ekibastuzets. Dmitri Shomko then moved to Irtysh Pavlodar and he played for the Kazak club from 2009 to 2014. In 2011 he was sent on loan to Astana and three years later he signed a permanent deal with the Blue and Yellows. His main position is left-back, but he is used as a left midfielder as well.
Over the years Shomko has established himself as a first-team regular at Kazakhstan national football team and he made his debut for the Hawks on February 2, 2011 in a 1-1 draw with Belarus. Shomko came as a substitute for Nurgaliev in the 85th minute of the match. He has 17 caps for the U21 team as well.
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.