Vorskla Poltava vs Qarabag – Thursday, November 8, 20:00 GMT/21:00 CET – Oleksiy Butovsky Vorskla Satdium, Poltava, Ukraine
In what has been viewed as the battle between the UEFA Europa League Group E’s minnows, Vorskla Poltava host QarabağFK on matchday 4.
The Ukrainians earned an important victory in Azerbaijan last month. Having been humbled by Arsenal and missing out on an opportunity to shock Sporting CP on matchday 2, the Ukrainians desperately needed to earn a result to stay in the hunt for the next round of the Europa League.
Their victory was narrow but hard earned. Their goal came early in the second half, and while Qarabağthrew everything at the visitors, Ukrainian goalkeeper Bohdan Shust was able to keep their advances at bay. The match ended 0-1 and Vorksla earned a vital three points. Meanwhile, Arsenal defeated Sporting CP.
The result means that Vorskla is now three points off of Sporting for the vital second placed spot in their group. Should the Ukrainians overcome their Azerbaijani opponents on matchday 4, it could present them with an opportunity to become level on points with their group rivals. They must take one thing at a time, however, as a loss would see them eliminated from contention.
Qarabağ FK, on the other hand, are on the brink of elimination. The Azerbaijani side have failed to score a goal in the competition this season. Moreover, they have conceded six goals in three matches. In other words, they simply have not been good enough.
Should Qarabağhope to advance to the next round of the UEFA Europa League, they will need a lot of luck on their side. They would first have overcome their Ukrainian hosts on Thursday and then potentially win their remaining two matches to claim the second spot. Given the current standings, it appears that this would be very difficult to do.
Stranger things have happened, however, and the Azerbaijani side has been in this situation before. During the 2017/18 season, Qarabağ became the first Azerbaijani side to compete in the UEFA Champions League. They were placed in Group C with Chelsea, AS Roma and Atlético de Madrid. Early predictions saw Qarabag finishing at the bottom without a single point. The Azerbaijani side shocked the world, however, as they drew Atlético twice and earned two vital points. The remarkable results were nowhere near enough to advance to the next round of the competition, but it showed the character of the side. Therefore, QarabağFK may still have a chance in this year’s UEFA Europa League.
Vorskla Poltava vs Qarabag FK – Players to Watch:
Bohdan Shust #1 – Vorskla Poltava
Vorskla Poltava currently sit in third place in UEFA Europa League Group E. The Ukrainians are three points behind Sporting CP, a team they should have beaten on matchday 2, and there is a potential that they could catch their opponents in the latter points of the group stage. Should they hope to advance, Vorskla goalkeeper Bohdan Shust will have to keep his side in the competition. Otherwise, they will surely be eliminated.
Mahir Madatov #11 – Qarabag
The Azerbaijani midfielder has scored three goals in ten league games for Qarabağ this season. While they are currently behind Vorskla in Group E, a commanding victory on matchday 4 would see them leapfrog their Ukrainian opponents in the group table. If the Azerbaijani side hopes to advance, they will need to improve their performance in front of goal. Madatov can help them overcome these struggles.
Vorskla Poltava vs Qarabag – Match Stats
- Vorksla won the reverse fixture 1-0.
- Vorskla Poltava’s Denys Vasin and Aleskandre Kobakhidze remain on the sidelines as both men continue to fight through their injuries.
- QarabağFK are without the injured Dani Quintana.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Vorslka Poltava vs Qarabag – 2-1
Vorskla Poltava vs QarabağFK – Lineups
Shust – Perduta, Dallku, Chesnakov, Artur – Serhiychuk, Kravchenko, Sharpar, Rebenok – Kulach – Kolomoyets
Manager: Vasyl Sachko
Vagner – Medvedev, Huseynov, Rzeźniczak, Agolli – Michel, Garayev – Madatov, Ozobić, Zoubir – Emeghara
Manager: Gurban Gurbanov
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