Our football match prediction:
Against all odds, Vardar eliminated Fenerbahce in the Europa League play-offs and the Macedonian champions will be aiming to claim yet another major scalp when they welcome star-studded Zenit at Nacionalna Arena Filip II Makedonski in Skopje. The Crveno-Crni are brimming with confidence ahead of Thursday’s football match and we predict that they will fight tooth and nail against Zenit. The Russians eliminated Utrecht of Netherlands in the play-off round, but it has to be noted that the Zenitchiki were beaten by the Eredivisie side at Stadion Galgenwaard in the first leg. Roberto Mancini’s troops are not considered good travelers and seeing that Vardar have been producing terrific performances in European competitions this season, there is every chance the two teams will share the spoils in Skopje. You should bear in mind that the two teams meet for the first time ever in European competitions.
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 (Zenit Petersburg):
Zenit Saint Petersburg are a Russian football club that was founded by workers of Leningrad Metal Plant in 1925. Over the years the Zenitchiki have established themselves as one of the dominant forces in Russian football, but they won their first domestic trophy in 1984. Zenit have been impressive in the national championship in the 21st century, winning four league titles, while clinching two Russian Cups (2010, 2016). The Zenitchiki are a regular participant of the Champions League group stages and in 2008 they did well to win the UEFA Cup. The Russian outfit defeated Glasgow Rangers (2-0) in the title game, with Denisov and Zyryanov both finding the net in the final of the competition. Zenit play their home games at Krestovsky Stadium, the venue that was opened in 2016. Gazprom are the club’s main sponsors and the colour of their home shirts is white-sky blue. Brazilian ace Hulk is probably the most notable footballer who played for Zenit.