After Sparta Praha’s 1-0 first leg victory, FC Krasnodar have to hope that they can maintain their strong form at home in order to turn around the deficit in Krasnodar on Thursday. This was Krasnodar’s first loss in six European matches.
Krasnodar have, however, rallied before this season in that they beat Borussia Dortmund 1-0 at home to overturn a 2-1 loss in Dortmund, thereby ensuring that the Russian’s would win the group ahead of the Germans.
This time, however, the result will be tougher to overturn because Krasnodar failed to secure the all important away goal, which means that Krasnodar will have to win by two goals in Russia. Futbolgrad predicted a week ago that Krasnodar would want to aim for a tie in order to have a good chance to advance a week later in Russia.
Krasnodar has now failed to achieve that result. At the same time there is still hope for Krasnodar because they now have their first competitive game under their belt and Sparta should be considered a less difficult opponent than Borussia Dortmund. Then there is also the fact that Russia is not, for foreign clubs, an easy place in which to play in February.
Krasnodar’s offense will have to do better than they did in the first leg, however, as UEFA’s statistics highlight that the Russian club made only three attempts on goal, as opposed to the 16 attempts by Sparta Praha.
Hence, for the second leg of the FC Krasnodar vs Sparta Praha matchup Krasnodar’s offensive players Pavel Mamaev, Fedor Smolov, and the Brazilian Ari, who recently extended his contract, will have to do their best to achieve the goals necessary to overcome the 1-0 deficit. Krasnodar is considered to be one of the most effective teams in the Russian Football Premier League when it comes to finishing chances, and are extremely good in the possession game.
Both attributes will be important, as Krasnodar will have to keep the ball and finish their chances in order to score two unanswered goals on Thursday. Futbolgrad believes that a positive result is certainly possible for Krasnodar, but the fact that this is only the second game of the calendar year for the Russians means that Sparta are firm favourites to wrap the tie up and advance to the round of 16 in the Europa League.