Vardar vs Bate Borisov
Vardar have finally won the domestic title in FYR Macedonia and has a chance to compete at European stage for the first time since 2007 and first time for Champions League spot since season 2003/04 when they eliminated CSKA Moscow and gave a hard time to Sparta Prague losing 4-5 on aggregate result. This is the club with arguably biggest tradition in country and with most fans in the country. Then, it’s no surprise that almost whole stadium (capacity of around 34.000 seats) is already sold out one day before the game and that whole city is awaiting this match.
Vardar have lost the first match with a narrow 3:2 result, although they were leading till 92nd minute of the game. Firstly, they received a goal near the end of the first half-time, but then bounced back with much better performance in second half-time and were leading 2:1, however Bate started playing in much higher tempo and were rewarded for their effort in 90+2 when Rodionov scored a goal with a header for 2:2. Same player scored once again two minutes later, just before the referee blew for the full-time and left Vardar players unsatisfied after all.
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Bate Borisov as said was very lucky to get a 3:2 victory, but they surely know that nothing is decided in front of the second leg. They have received two goals at home and this is already huge setback for them as they now can’t afford to lose the second game, but neither to attack in front a lot away from home.
Polyakov (right back), Bressan (playmaker) and Baga (central/defensive midfielder) are three important players for Belarus side that won’t play the match as they are with Belarus Olympics team in London. Although Bate is surely stronger on the paper even without these three, these three still could be the main reason why Bate doesn’t attack as they should in this match.
Cautious game is expected here as Bate Borisov is still a slight favorite to progress to the third round, but they will surely not be chasing victory here at any price. Although progress is in big question mark, Vardar shouldn’t lose this specific game as they are playing in front of their own fans who are used to much bigger upsets than beating Bate is, while the away side will surely be satisfied with any kind of final progress here.
Bet: Vardar +0.5 Asian Handicap @2.17 with Bet365
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