Our football match prediction:
Thursday’s football game at Winner Stadium pits together Maccabi Tel Aviv and Astana. Jordi Cruijff’s men have been struggling in the group stages of the Europa League this season and they have yet to find the net in Group A. Maccabi Tel Aviv have yet to find the net in the process and they experienced all sorts of problems at the back in a 4-0 loss to Astana. This has to go down as a must-win game for the hosts and we predict that they are going to fight tooth and nail against Astana. The Kazakhs aim to climb to top two in Group A and seeing that the hosts head into the match with the lack of confidence, we are tempted to put our money on the visitors. Congo DR international Junior Kabananga led Astana to the domestic trophy with 17 goals and he is likely to prove a handful for the opposition defenders. It has to be noted that Kabananga scored a brace in the 4-0 win over Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Highligted Player (Egor Filipenko):
Egor Filipenko is a Maccabi Tel Aviv defender who was born in Minsk, Belarus on 10 April, 1988. He began his senior career at BATE Borisov, but his main goal was to join Russian Premier League. His wish came true in 2008 as he signed a contract with Russian giants Spartak Moscow. After playing 16 league games for the capital club, he returned to BATE Borisov in 2011 on loan and he eventually signed a permanent deal with the Belarusian outfit. On 5 January, 2015 Filipenko joined la Liga side Malaga on a two-and-a-half-year deal, but he made no more than eight league appearances with los Boquerones. In the summer of 2016 the Belarusian footballer moved to Israel, signing a contract with Maccabi Tel Aviv. Speaking of his international career, Egor Filipenko made his Belarus debut on 12 September, 2007, coming as a substitute in a 1-0 loss to Slovenia in the Euro 2008 qualifier. His contract with Maccabi Tel Aviv expires on 30 June, 2018.
Highlighted Team (FC Astana):
Astana are a professional football club based in Astana, Kazakhstan. The Blue and Yellows were founded in 2009 and five years later they won their first Kazakhstan Premier League trophy. Astana managed to defend their title in 2015, with the team finishing the season just one point clear of Kairat in the standings. The Kazakhs participated in the Champions League group stages in the 2015/2016 season, but they failed to record a win in the elite competition. However, it has to be noted that they managed to hold star-studded Atletico Madrid to a goalless draw in front of home fans. Astana play their home games at Astana Arena and the capacity of the venue is 30 244. The stadium was opened on 3 July, 2009 and the construction cost $185 million. Astana’s home kits are yellow with blue strips and they play their away games in navy-blue kits. The team recorded their biggest win on 19 June, 2011 when they outclassed Kairat 6-1 in the Kazakhstan Premier League.