Our football match prediction:
Stadio Artemio Franchi will host Thursday’s football match between Fiorentina and PAOK. The Viola aim to cement top position in Group J and they are likely to stick to their attacking style of play. The Serie A team are on a three-game winning run in the Europa League group stages, but they will have to prove their worth on the field. PAOK, on the other hand, suffered back-to-back defeats to Qarabag and, no doubt, they face an uphill task in Thursday’s game against Fiorentina. Josip Ilicic scored a brace for Viola in a 4-0 win at Empoli at the weekend and the Slovenian international is likely to prove a handful for the opposition defenders. Fiorentina are a real force to be reckoned with at home and we predict that Paulo Sousa’s troops are going to roll over the out-of-sorts Greeks in their last home fixture in Group J.
Highligted Player (Nikola Kalinic):
Nikola Kalinic is a product of Hajduk Split’s youth school. The 187-cm-tall striker scored 32 goals in 59 appearances for Hajduk at senior level and he played for the likes of Pula and Sibenik in Croatia as well. In 2009 he moved to Blackburn Rovers for fee of £6 million. Nikola Kalinic made his Blackburn Rovers debut against Sunderland on 22 August, 2009 and he scored his first goal for the Riversiders against Peterborough United in the League Cup. After making 44 league appearances for Blackburn Rovers, the Croatian attacker joined Dnipro in 2011 and he played for the Ukrainian outfit until 2015. Kalinic signed a four-year deal with Fiorentina on 15 August, 2015 and he impressed in the 2015/2016 Serie A campaign, scoring 12 goals in 36 games. The Fiorentina striker made two appearances for Croatia at the 2016 European Championship in France and it has to be noted that he found the net in a 2-1 win over Spain in the group stages of the competition.
Highlighted Team (PAOK):
PAOK are regarded as one of the most famous clubs in Greece. The club’s biggest rivals are Olympiakos, but they have a great rivalry with local rivals Aris as well. The Double-headed eagle play their home games at Toumba Stadion Thessaloniki and the capacity of the venue is 28 803. PAOK are a real force to be reckoned with at home, but they often struggle when playing on the travels. The club won their first Greek Superleague title in 1976 and nine years later their clinched their second domestic trophy, finishing the season three points clear of Panathinaikos. Speaking of the club’s European success, the Black and Whites made it to the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in the 1973/1974 season, but they were outplayed by Italian giants Milan in the two-legged tie. PAOK were founded on 20 April, 1926 and they play their home games in black and white shirts and black shorts. The club’s away colours are white.