Our prediction for this Europa League match:
Astana will be aiming to extend their unbeaten run in the Europa League group stages when they welcome Jablonec at their Astana Arena on Thursday evening. The Kazakhs shared the spoils with the Czech side two weeks ago, but they are seen as favourites to win Thursday’s football match. Astana did well to beat Rennes in their first home game of the process, which is surely giving fans a reason for optimism ahead of the visit of Jablonec. The Czechs are eyeing their first win of the process, but seeing that Astana are a real force to be reckoned with at home, we predict that the visitors are going to return home empty-handed. A man to watch in the home team will be Croatia international Marin Tomasov. He has been producing fine performances in all competitions this season and you should bear in mind that he has netted 10 goals in the national championship to date.
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 (Jablonec):
FK Jablonec are a Czech side who compete in the Czech 1. Liga. Jablones are well known for their green and white kit, whilst their away colours are black and gray. The Czech outfit play their home games at Stadion Strelnice, the venue which can hold up to 6,108 spectators.
Jablonec are not considered one of the most successful Czech sides, but they did well to win the domestic cup on two occasions. In the 1997/1998 season they defeated Petra Drnovice in the final, whereas they clinched their second title by beating Mlada Boleslav on penalties in the title game. The likes of Petr Rada, David Lafata, Tomas Hubschman and Ludek Pernica are the club’s most notable players.
Jablonec finished the 2017/2018 season in third place in the standings, which helped them book their place in the Europa League. The Czech team will take on Rennes, Astana and Dinamo Kiev in the 2018/2019 Europa League group stages.