Our football match prediction:
Villarreal kick off their Europa League campaign with a match against Astana at their Estadio de la Ceramica. The Yellow Submarine suffered back-to-back defeats to the likes of Levante and Real Sociedad at the start of the season, but they are still regarded as favourites on paper to win Thursday’s football match against Astana. It is well known that Villarreal are a real force to be reckoned with at home and summer signing Carlos Bacca is likely to pose a big threat for the opposition defenders. Astana, on the other hand, failed to beat Celtic in the Champions League play-off round and, as a result, they will represent Kazakhstan in the Europa League group stages this term. Astana are not considered as good travelers and we predict that the visitors are going to return home empty-handed from the trip to Spain.
Highlighted Player (Cedric Bakambu):
Cedric Bakambu is considered one of the best African strikers. He was a French youth international and he played for les Tricolores at the 2010 UEFA U19 European Championship. France defeated Spain in the final of the tournament and that is regarded as Bakambu’s biggest success, speaking of his international career. However, despite playing for France youth teams, Cedric Bakambu decided to represent DR Congo at senior level and he made his debut for the Congolese national team against Cameroon. He scored his first goal for DR Congo in a 2-1 win over Angola on 26 March, 2016. Speaking of his club career, the pacey attacker played for Sochaux from 2010 to 2014 and on 1 September, 2014 he moved to Bursaspor. After scoring 13 goals in 27 league appearances for the Turkish outfit, Bakambu signed a five-year deal with La Liga side Villarreal on 19 August, 2015 and he has been playing for the Yellow Submarine ever since. The Congolese striker made his Villarreal debut on 23 August, 21015 in a 1-1 draw with Real Betis.
Highlighted Team (FC Astana):
Astana are a professional football club based in Astana, Kazakhstan. The Blue and Yellows were founded in 2009 and five years later they won their first Kazakhstan Premier League trophy. Astana managed to defend their title in 2015, with the team finishing the season just one point clear of Kairat in the standings. The Kazakhs participated in the Champions League group stages in the 2015/2016 season, but they failed to record a win in the elite competition. However, it has to be noted that they managed to hold star-studded Atletico Madrid to a goalless draw in front of home fans. Astana play their home games at Astana Arena and the capacity of the venue is 30 244. The stadium was opened on 3 July, 2009 and the construction cost $185 million. Astana’s home kits are yellow with blue strips and they play their away games in navy-blue kits. The team recorded their biggest win on 19 June, 2011 when they outclassed Kairat 6-1 in the Kazakhstan Premier League.