Our prediction for this Europa League match:
Sevilla will be aiming to keep their 100% record intact in the Europa League group stages when they welcome Qarabag at their Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on Thursday evening. Even though head coach Julen Lopetegui has been resting key players in the Europa League, los Sevillanos have been scoring goals for fun in Group A, and they are seen as hot favourites to beat Qarabag in Andalusia.
Since the La Liga side are a real force to be reckoned with at home, the visitors are likely to return to Azerbaijan empty-handed. Munir El Haddadi scored a hat-trick against Dudelange, meaning that the opposition defenders should have him at bay. Yet another man to watch in the home team will be summer signing Moanes Dabour, who scored a brace in the last group game. Qarabag are still in the race for a place in the last 32, but they face an uphill task against Sevilla at “Pizjuan.”
Highlighted Player (Nolito):
Widely known as Nolito, Manuel Agudo Durán is a Spanish forward born on 15 October 1986 in Sanlucar de Barrameda, who has had an unconventional path to stardom. The highly rated footballer did not go through Barcelona’s famous La Masia youth academy, but he rather joined the B side in 2008 and went on to show a great deal of potential.
Nolito also made a couple of performances for the senior side, but ultimately left for Benfica in an attempt to secure regular playing time. That proved an excellent decision as the winger produced some scintillating showings at Estadio da Luz, and following a loan spell with Granada, he returned to La Liga to sign for Celta Vigo. During his time at Balaidos, Nolito developed into one of league’s leading footballers, usually playing on the left wing and wreaking havoc after cutting inside.
The experienced footballer scored almost 40 league goals in first 100 appearances for the Sky Blues, while also breaking into the Spain national team, and despite making his La Furia Roja debut at the age of 28, he quickly became an important player for the side.
Highlighted Team (Qarabag):
Over the years Qarabag have established themselves as one of the best teams in Azerbaijan. The club was founded in 1951 and they were playing under the name of Mehsul back then. Qarabag won their first trophy in the national championship in 1993, beating Khazar Sumgayit in the title game.
In the 2015/2016 season they won their fourth domestic trophy, with the team finishing the season 22 points clear of second-placed Zira. Qarabag participated in the 2016/2017 Champions League qualifiers, but they were more than unfortunate to suffer a loss to Viktoria Plzen in the two-legged tie. The Azerbaijan outfit were beaten by the Czechs on away goal rule and, as a result, they made it to the Europa League playoffs.
Thanks to a win over Goteborg in the double-header Qarabag made it to the knockout stages of the competition. The Horsemen play their home games at Azersun Arena and their home colours are black. Qarabag play their away games in white kits.