Our prediction for this Europa League match:
A spot in the Europa League last 16 will be at stake when Istanbul Basaksehir and Sporting CP face each other in Istanbul on Thursday evening. The Lions did well to beat the Turks 3-1 in Lisbon, with January signing Andraz Sporar opening his goal-scoring account with his new club. Sporting CP aim to defend their two-goal lead in the return leg, and they are likely to adopt a cautious approach in the Basaksehir Fatih Terim Stadyumu.
Istanbul Basaksehir are likely to go all-out attack against the Lions, but home win should not be considered as they are fully focused on winning the national championship. Bosnia international Edin Visca, who scored from the penalty spot in the first leg, will be one of the men to keep an eye on in the home team. Anyhow, share of spoils is on the horizon as Sporting CP have been in a fine form of late.
Highlighted Player (Eljero Elia):
Eljero Elia began his senior career at ADO Den Haag. The pacey winger scored six goals in 59 league appearances for the club and in 2007 he moved to fellow Eredivisie team Twente. Elia, who was born on 13 February, 1987 in Voorburg, spent two years at Twente and on 5 July, 2009 he moved to Germany, signing a five-year deal with Hamburg for a fee of €8.5 million.
The Dutch winger made his Hamburg debut against Freiburg on 8 August, 2009 and he scored his first goal for the club in a 4-2 victory over Wolfsburg on 23 August. Elia played for Italian giants Juventus in the 2011/2012 season, but he made no more than four league appearances for the club. In the summer of 2012 he returned to Germany, signing a deal with Werder Bremen and he played for die Werderaner between 2012 and 2015.
Speaking of his international career, Elia represented Netherlands at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa and he won the silver medal with the Oranje as they were beaten by Spain in the title game.
Highlighted Team (Sporting):
When it comes to official club members, Portugal giants Sporting Lisbon are the sixth club in the world. Commonly referred to as Leoes which is Portuguese for Lions, Sporting Lisbon were founded in 1906 and are one of the founders of the Primeira Liga.
Sporting’s main rivals are Benfica, with both teams contesting the Lisbon Derby, one of the most fierce ones in Europe. Lions play their games at Estadio Jose Alvelade in front of 50,000 people and are the third most successful club in the country with 46 titles in Portuguese competitions and a title in the European Cup Winner’s Cup from 1963-64.
During this time that is also known as the club’s golden years, Sporting Lisbon won the majority of their 18 Primeira Liga titles in total. Sporting Lisbon boasts the quality football youth academy system which has yielded world-class footballers such as Paulo Furte, Simao Sabrosa, Nani and Ballon d’Or winners Figo and Cristiano Ronaldo.