Our prediction for this Europa League match:
Maccabi Tel Aviv and Shakhtar Donetsk go head to head at Bloomfield Stadium in the Europa League last 32, first leg. Maccabi Tel Aviv are on a six-game winning run in the Israel top flight, but it has to be noted that they were having their ups and downs in the Europa League group stages. Patrick van Leeuwen’s troops face an uphill task in Thursday’s clash against Shakhtar Donetsk, and, no doubt, they would be more than happy with the share of spoils.
The Miners, on the other hand, dropped two points in a goalless draw with Kolos in their last league match. Shakhtar Donetsk are eager to return to winning ways, and given their experience in European competitions, we believe that there is a big value in betting on the Ukrainian outfit. A man to watch in the away team will be experienced attacker Junior Moraes.
Highlighted Player (Eitan Tibi):
Eitan Tibi is a profesional footballer who plays for Maccabi Tel Aviv. Born in Jerusalem on 16 November, 1987, Tibi started his senior career at his hometown club Beitar Jerusalem. After ending his spell with Beitar in 2010 he moved to Charleroi and it has to be noted that the made nine league appearances for the Belgium outfit in the 2010/2011 season.
The Israeli defender then returned to his homeland, signing a contract with Ironi Kiryat Shmona, but he spent no more than one season at the club. In the summer of 2012 he signed a three-year contract with Maccabi Tel Aviv and he has been playing for the club ever since. His main position is centre back, but he is capable of playing as a left back as well.
In 2012 Eitan Tibi made his Israel debut against Czech Republic and he has established himself as a first-team regular. He started the 2018 World Cup qualifier against Italy, but Israel suffered a 3-1 loss to Giampiero Ventura’s troops in their opener.
Highlighted Team (Shakhtar Donetsk):
Despite the fact that they were founded back in 1936, Shakhtar Donetsk were struggling to win the Ukrainian Premier League trophy until 2002. The Miners have established themselves as the dominant force in Ukrainian football and it has to be noted that they won their ninth domestic trophy in 2014.
Shakhtar Donetsk were playing at Donbass Arena in the past, but due to war in Donbass the club temporarily moved to Arena Lviv. In 2009 the Miners won the UEFA Cup trophy under Romanian boss Mircea Lucescu, beating Werder Bremen in the title game. Croatian full back Dario Srna was named the man of the match. Dynamo Kiev are considered Shakhtar Donetsk’s main rivals and there have always been fireworks in meetings between the two sides.
Shakhtar have a rivalry with Metalurh Donetsk as well and the two local rivals face each other in the Donetsk Derby. Chelsea ace Willian, Manchester United star Mkhitaryan and Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho all played for Shakhtar in the past.