Our prediction for this Europa League match:
Standard Liege and Bala Town face each other in a David-vs-Goliath clash in the Europa League second qualifying round. The Red Devils have been producing fine performances at the start of the season, but they can’t afford any complacency in Thursday’s showdown. Standard are a real force to be reckoned with at home, and even though the game will be played behind closed doors, we believe that home win should be considered.
It has to be noted that the Belgian outfit recorded five wins in the last six home games in the Europa League. Bala Town, on the other hand, did well to beat Valletta in the Europa League first qualifying round. The Welsh outfit aim to claim yet another major scalp in the qualifiers, but spoiling Standard Liege’s party at Stade Maurice Dufrasne is easier said than done.
Highlighted Player (Mehdi Carcela-González):
Despite being born in Liege, Belgium on July 1, 1989, Mehdi Carcela represents Morocco on the international stage. Carcela initially chose to play for his country of birth Belgium, taking part in two friendlies with the Red Devils, but in February 2011 he made his debut with Morocco.
He represented Morocco at the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals in Russia, but the African side failed to make it to the knockout stages of the showpiece tournament. Speaking of his club career, Mehdi Carcela played for the likes of Standard Liege, Anzhi, Benfica, Granada and Olympiakos (on loan). He currently plays for Standard Liege on loan from Granada.
Mehdi Carcela’s main position is right winger, but he is capable of playing as both attacking midfielder and left winger as well. In the 2008/2009 season the Morocco international won the Belgian Pro League with Standard and seven seasons later he repeated the success with Benfica as the Eagles won Primeira Liga. His preferred foot is left.
Highlighted Team (St Liege):
Standard are a Belgian football club based in Liege. The club was founded back in 1898 and 11 years later they joined Belgian First League. Les Rouches (the Reds) immediately dropped to the lower leagues, but in 1921 they returned to the Belgian top flight. Standard won their first Belgian League trophy in 1958, but you should have in mind that they were level on points with second-placed Royal Antwerp.
In 2009 the Reds clinched their tenth domestic title, beating Anderlecht in the title game. Talented midfielder Axel Witsel scored the winner for Standard in the 1-0 triumph over their bitter rivals. Standard play their home games at Stade Maurice Dufrasne, the venue that was opened in 1909. The capacity of the stadium is 30 023.
Maurice Dufrasne was the club’s chairman from 1909 until 1931. Speaking of the club’s European success, Standard participated in the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup final in 1982, losing to La Liga giants Barcelona in the title game.