Our prediction for this Europa League match:
A place in the Europa League group stages will be at stake when Rijeka and Gent face each other at Stadion HNK Rijeka on Thursday evening. Despite taking the lead in the first leg, Rijeka eventually suffered a 2-1 loss to Gent at GHELAMCO-arena in the first leg of the Europa League play-offs. Anyhow, the Belgians dominated the match and their victory is well deserved.
Laurent Depoitre, whose goals helped De Buffalo’s overcome the deficit in the first leg, will be the man to keep an eye on in the away team. Gent are more of a team than Rijeka and despite the fact that the Croats are tough to beat at home, we predict that Jess Thorup are going to book their place in the Europa League group stages. In their last away game in the Europa League the Belgian outfit shared the spoils with AEK Larnaca.
Highlighted Player (Darko Velkovski):
Born in Skopje, Macedonia on June 22, 1995 Darko Velkovski is a professional footballer who plays for Vardar as a centre-back. Darko Velkovski started his career at the youth team of Makedonija Gjorche Petrov and in 2011 he moved to Rabotnicki.
The 188-cm tall defender scored 11 goals in 109 appearances for the Romantics before joining fellow Macedonian side Vardar in 2015. Darko Velkovski has established himself as a first-team regular at the capital club and he made 28 appearances for the Crveno-Crni in the 2016/2017 Macedonian Prva Liga campaign. Velkovski, whose contract with Vardar expires on June 30, 2018, started for the Macedonian champions in a historical 2-1 win at Fenerbahce in the 2017/2018 Europa League play-offs, return leg.
Darko Velkovski made his Macedonia debut on June 18, 2014 in a 2-0 loss to China in a friendly. His main position is centre-back, but he is capable of playing as both defensive and central midfielder as well.
Highlighted Team (Rijeka):
Founded on July 29, 1946 as Sportsko Drustvo Kvarner, Rijeka are a Croatian football club that have always been in Dinamo Zagreb’s shadow. Dinamo are undisputedly the biggest football club in Croatia, but Rijeka did well to put an end to their dominance in the HNL in the 2016/2017 season.
The Rijecki bijeli won their first ever domestic trophy and, as a result, they made it to the Champions League qualifiers. However, Greek champions Olympiacos proved to be a big catch for Matjaz Kek’s troops in the play-offs for the group stages of the elite competition.
Before the breakup of Yugoslavia Rijeka won two domestic cups (1977/1978, 1978/1979) and it has to be noted that they clinched their fourth Croatian Cup title in 2017, with the team beating Dinamo Zagreb in the final of the competition. Rijeka welcome their rivals at Stadion Rujevica and the capacity of the stadium is 8.279. The venue was opened in August 2, 2015.