Our prediction for this Europa League match:
Qarabag will be looking to build on a thrilling 4-1 win over F91 Dudelange when they take on APOEL in Baku on Thursday evening. The Azeri outfit quickly bounced back from a heavy 3-0 loss to Sevilla, but they need to keep on improving their game if they are to book their place in the Europa League knockout stages.
Qarabag aim to take advantage of the fact that APOEL suffered back-to-back defeats to the likes of F91 Dudelange and Sevilla and seeing that they have turned their stadium into a real fortress, we believe that there is a big value in betting on the hosts. When the two teams met in Baku in the Champions League qualifiers earlier this year APOEL recorded a 2-0 win over Qarabag, meaning that the hosts are hungry for revenge. A man to keep an eye on in the home team will be Azerbaijan rising star Mahir Emreli.
Highlighted Player (Richard):
Richard is a Brazilian footballer who plays as a midfielder at Qarabag of Azerbaijan. Richard Almeida de Oliveira was born on March 20, 1989 in Sao Paulo, Brazil and he started his senior career at Santo Andre. After making only four appearances in the league for the Brazilian club, he signed a loan deal with Portuguese side Gil Vicente.
In 2012 he moved to Azerbaijan, signing a contract with Qarabag and he has been playing for the Atilar ever since. Richard impressed in his debut season with the club as he scored 13 goals in 30 appearances in the national championship for Qarabag. The 177-cm tall player made his Azerbaijan debut on June 10, 2017 in a 1-0 loss to Northern Ireland.
His main position is central midfield, but he is capable of playing as both attacking midfielder and a left winger as well. It has to be noted that Richard’s contract with Qarabag should expire on June 30, 2018.
Highlighted Team (APOEL):
APOEL are a Cypriot football club based in Nicosia. The Thrylos were founded on 8 November, 1926 and they won their first league trophy in 1932, defeating AEL Limassol 4-0 in the final. Over the years APOEL have established themselves as one of the best teams in Cyprus and they won their 25th domestic trophy in 2016.
The Thrylos participated in the 2014/2015 Champions League group stages, but they failed to make life difficult for the likes of PSG, Ajax and Barcelona, picking up no more than one point from possible 18. APOEL share a great rivalry with Omonia and the meeting between two teams is well known as the Nicosia derby.
A number of foreign footballers played for APOEL and it has to be noted that the likes of Daniel Florea, Dudu Biton, Marcos Tavares, Paul Okon, Dragisa Binic, Nenad Milosavljevic, Paulo Costa, Tiago Gomes, Alexandros Tziolis and Fernando Cavenaghi were all part of the team in the past. The colour of APOEL’s home kits is yellow.