Crvena Zvezda (aka Red Star Belgrade) head to Sparta Prague this evening in Europa League qualification and they can seal progress with a victory over their hosts.
At full-strength, Sparta would probably be too strong for Red Star but the Czech outfit have a lengthy injury list with up to eight players missing for tonight’s qualifier. Injuries impacted their performance in the first-leg as they went down 2-0 in Serbia and they face a huge task to recover the deficit in the return fixture.
Red Star have a fully-fit squad to select from and they head into the match in good form with four successive victories, while Sparta were held by Bohemians 1905 in their domestic season opener at the weekend.
The hosts have to attack if they are to continue their European adventure and that could allow Red Star more opportunities on the counter. Gabon midfielder Guelor Kanga grabbed a goal in the first-leg victory and offers some pace going forward, while Ghana striker Richmond Boakye has 10 goals in his last nine games and was kept on the bench at the weekend for the win over Rad Beograd – presumably to keep him fresh for tonight’s match.
Sparta are the favourites to win at 10/13 but Red Star at 16/5 are my top bet for this evening. The Serbian outfit do face a big task in Prague, but if they can weather an early Sparta storm they should grow into the tie more and come away with a win.
With that in mind, a draw/away result in the half-time/full-time market at 7/1 also looks a great price.
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