Sporting vs Astana – Europa League – Preview

Sporting vs Astana – Europa League – Preview

Futbolgrad Podcast – Episode 46 – Russian Football and the Curse of the Winter Break
Zenit vs Rosenborg – Europa League Preview
Ufa face Domžale in their first ever Europa League home game

Sporting vs Astana – Thursday, February 15, 18:00 GMT/19:00 CET – Estádio José Alvalade, Lisbon, Portugal.

Sporting vs Astana will take place at the Estádio José Alvalade in Lisbon. (Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images)

Sporting vs Astana will take place at the Estádio José Alvalade in Lisbon. (Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images)

After losing 3-1 at home in the Astana Arena FC Astana’s European campaign is all but over. The club from Kazakhstan capital had a good start to the game with Marian Tomasov scoring the early lead for Kazakhs, but Sporting showed all their European experience scoring three unanswered goals.

To make matters worse defender Yuri Logvinenko was sent off with two yellow cards. Overall, however, the result in Kazakhstan was perhaps a bit too high for the travelling Portuguese side. Astana played cultured football and seemed to threaten Sporting even with the man down.

In the end, it was likely the lack of experience at this stage and, the fact, which this was Astana’s first competitive game in 2018. With the club still in season preparation for the 2018 Kazakh Premier League season—their first league game will not be played until March 11.

Astana’s head coach Stanimir Stoilov will therefore likely use this game as another pre-season preparation match. Sporting in the meantime will try to wrap this up as quickly as possible. The Portuguese are in the middle of their league campaign and are still involved in the domestic cup competition as well. With this in mind expect a game that will have a bit of friendly game atmosphere with Sporting walking away as the likely winners.

Sporting vs Astana – Player to look out for:

Gelson Martins #77 – Sporting

Gelson Martins could become the latest talent to move from Portugal to a big club this summer. Linked to clubs like Bayern München, where he is on the list to replace Arjen Robben in the medium-term, Gelson Martins is now worth €30 million, but will likely command a much bigger transfer fee. Lightning fast the winger has already scored five goals and six assists in 20 games this season.

Gelson Martins is Sporting's most interesting prospect. (PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP/Getty Images)

Gelson Martins is Sporting’s most exciting prospect. (PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP/Getty Images)

Patrick Twumasi #23 – Astana

With Kabananga gone Patrick Twumasi is Astana’s only true star. The forward was linked with a move away from Astana throughout the winter break. Club’s like VfB Stuttgart and Spartak Moscow chose to go for different options instead, which means that the 23-year-old Ghanaian will remain in Kazakhstan for now. Immensely talented it will only be a matter of time, however, for Twumasi to find a new club.

Patrick Twumasi (l.) is one of two exciting strikers Astana have at their disposal. (OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)

Patrick Twumasi (l.) is Astana’s biggest star at the moment. (OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)

Sporting vs Astana – Match Stats

  • The first leg was the first ever encounter between the two sides.
  • Astana took on Sporting’s city rivals Benfica in the 2015-16 UEFA Champions League. They made their group stage debut in Lisbon, losing 2-0 before drawing the return fixture 2-2 in Astana – letting slip a two-goal lead. Current players Patrick Twumasi and Marin Aničić scored the home team’s goals.
  • At 6,171km, the journey from Astana to Sporting is one of the longest in European football.
  • Sporting’s transfer from the UEFA Champions League means they have participated in seven of the nine UEFA Europa League campaigns. Only Ajax (eight appearances) have been involved in more.

Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Sporting vs Astana – 2-1

Sporting vs Astana – Possible Lineups

Sporting:

Formation: 4-2-2-2

Patricio – Coentrão, Mathieu, Coates, Piccini – Carvalho, Fernandes – Acuna, Gelson Martins – Montero, Ruiz

Manager: Jorge Jesus

Astana:

Formation: 4-3-3

Eric – Shomko, Anicic, Maly, Shitov – Maevskiy, Grahovac – Tomasov, Kleinheisler, Twumasi – Despotovic

Manager: Stanimir Stoilov

Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and social media editor at Bundesliga.com. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which will be available in print soon. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada.  Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth. Or contact him via email: [email protected] 

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 1
  • comment-avatar
    tyranozaver 7 months

    Futbolgrad, thank you for your blog post.Really thank you! Awesome.

  • DISQUS: 0