Our football match prediction:
Astra finished the 2016/2017 Romanian Liga I in third place in the standings, seven points behind champions Viitorul and, as a result, they booked their place in the Europa League qualifiers. Astra participated in the group stages of the competition last season and thanks to a goalless draw with Roma in their last group game they made it to the knockout stages. However, Belgian side Genk eventually proved to be a big catch for the Romanians. Astra aim to play in the Europa League for the second consecutive season, but Edward Iordanescu’s team will have to be at their sharpest in the qualifiers if they are to repeat the success. The Romanian side were beaten by Anzhi and Rijeka in previous two warm-up games, but they are widely expected to beat Zira in Thursday’s football match. The Azeri side defeated Differdange 03 in the Europa League first qualifying round, but given the experience Astra have gained over the years, there is a big value in betting on the hosts in this one.
Highlighted Team (Astra):
Astra Giurgiu are a Romanian football club that made history by eliminating West Ham United in the Europa League in two consecutive seasons. The Dracii Negri shocked the Hammers in the 2015/2016 Europa League qualifiers, while beating the Premier League in the 2016/2017 Europa League qualifying campaign as well. Astra won their first Romanian Liga 1 trophy in the 2015/2016 season, with the team finishing the season five points clear of Steaua Bucharest. The club was founded in 1921 and the Black Devils play their home games at Stadionul Marin Anastasovici. Petrolul Ploiesti are regarded as Astra’s bitterest rivals and there have always been fireworks in matches between the two teams. Nonetheless, a great number of Astra fans consider Rapid Buchares their fiercest rivals. It has to be noted that the two teams take on each other in the Fostul derbi. The team wear white jerseys and white shirts when playing at home, while the colour of the club’s away kits is red.