Qarabag vs Vorskla Poltava – Thursday, October 25, 17:55 BST/18:55 CEST – Bakı Olimpiya Stadionu, Baku, Azerbaijan
Qarabağ FK face Vorskla Poltava on Thursday. Both teams sit at the bottom of UEFA Europa League Group E with zero points and they will look to avoid adding to this rut as they go head to head in Baku.
Qarabağ made history last season having made an appearance in the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League. The club became the first Azerbaijani side to compete in the competition. Moreover, they held Spanish club Atlético de Madrid to a draw on two occasions, thus earning two points in the process. While they did not progress out of the competition’s group stages, this was certainly an accomplishment for the Central Asian country.
Fortune has not been as kind this time around, however. Qarabağ failed to qualify for the UEFA Champions League season and instead is competing in the UEFA Europa League. Their opening performances have been poor. Over the span of two matches they have scored zero goals while conceding five. On the other hand, their opponents were Portuguese side Sporting FC and England’s Arsenal, so perhaps they may be forgiven for these results.
Nonetheless, the Azerbaijani side will need to improve their performance. They will host the Ukrainian Vorskla Poltava in what is the battle between the bottom two sides in Group E.
Vorskla Poltava have also made a mess of their successes. After being vastly outplayed by Arsenal on the opening day of the competition, Vorskla took a surprising and commanding lead against Sporting on Matchday 2. It was a lapse of focus that saw their hard work undone, however. Vorskla conceded two goals in stoppage time in what became their second loss in the competition. In what could have been a historic win for the Ukrainian side ended in bitter defeat.
The Ukrainians will have an opportunity to amend these performances, however, as they travel to Baku on Matchday 3. Vorskla have demonstrated that they are capable of scoring against difficult opposition. Thus, this should give them an opportunity to perform against the joint-bottom team in Group E.
It will not be easy, but it is hypothesized that Vorskla has learned from their mistakes on Matchday 2. A better composed defensive side should see the Ukrainians claim a result in Azerbaijan, but anything is possible in football.
Qarabag vs Vorskla Poltava– Players to Watch:
Innocent Emeghara #7 – Qarabag
Qarabağ have scored zero goals in their opening two UEFA Europa League matches this season. They currently hold a goal differential of -5 and have managed to register only six shots on target over the span of two matches. QarabağFK simply have not been good enough. Striker Innocent Emeghara will need to improve his game if his side has any hope of progressing to the next round of the European competition.
Vladyslav Kulach #10 – Vorskla Poltava
The young Ukrainian has impressed, having scored three goals and registering one assist in ten Ukrainian Premier Liha matches this season. Moreover, he has scored one of Vorskla’s three goals in the UEFA Europa League Group Stage. The Ukrainians currently sit at the bottom of Group E, and should they have any hope of progressing to the competition’s knockout stages, they will need to rely upon their young forward.
Qarabag vs Vorskla Poltava – Match Stats
- This will be the first time the two clubs have faced one another in a European competition.
- QarabağFK are tied for first in the Azerbaijani Premier League. They won six matches and drawn once, scoring fourteen goals in the process while conceding four.
- Vorskla Poltava are in fourth place in the Ukrainian Premier Liha. They have won six and lost six matches and hold a goal differential of -3.
- QarabağFK are without the injured Dani Quintana, Rashad Sadygov and Wilde-Donald Guerrier.
- Vorskla Poltava’s Denys Vasin and Aleskandre Kobakhidze remain on the sidelines as both men continue to fight through their injuries.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Qarabag vs Vorskla Poltava – 1-2
Qarabag vs Vorskla Poltava – Lineups
Vagner – Medvedev, Huseynov, Rzeźniczak, Agolli – Michel, Garayev – Madatov, Ozobić, Zoubir – Emeghara
Manager: Gurban Gurbanov
Shust – Perduta, Dallku, Chesnakov, Artur – Serhiychuk, Kravchenko, Sharpar, Rebenok – Kulach – Kolomoyets
Manager: Vasyl Sachko
Mark Temnycky reports on the Ukrainian men’s national team and Ukrainian clubs competing in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League. Outside of the Futbolgrad Network, he covers Manchester City for SB Nation’s Bitter and Blue. Follow him @MTem33