Sutjeska Niksic vs Linfield (By: Joey)
Neither of these clubs has ever previously played a team from their opponents’ country in a European competition
Linfield have not won two European ties in the same season since 1966-67
Sutjeska have never won two European ties in the same campaign
One of these clubs will break new ground by putting themselves within one tie of a place in the Europa League group stage – but we fear it will be Linfield who miss out.
The draw for the qualifiers has given these teams a big helping hand at this stage because they will both feel their task could have been much more difficult, e.g. against the likes of Maccabi Tel Aviv, BATE Borisov or Astana who were also potential opponents.
That is because all of the clubs mentioned above, plus Sutjeska and Linfield, are among 20 who have dropped into this competition from the Champions League and, along with six more teams that join at the play-off stage, they will vie for eight places in the group phase.
It will obviously be significantly more difficult for the winner of this tie in the play-off, but there is a big opportunity on offer and Montenegrin champions Sutjeska are trying to win a second European tie in the same season for the first time, after beating Slovan Bratislava and then losing to APOEL Nicosia in the Champions League qualifiers.
Linfield, meanwhile, last got through two rounds way back in 1966-67 when they reached the European Cup quarter-finals (lost to CSKA Sofia). This term they lost their Champions League opener to Rosenborg but then won 3-2 on aggregate against the Faroe Islands title-holders after being switched into this competition.
Given that they ousted the Slovakian champions, Sutjeska probably have that bit more quality than Linfield and are expected to earn a first-leg advantage before completing the job in Belfast next week.
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Sutjeska Niksic vs Linfield prediction
1Odds: 1.50 at Bet365
Result: 1-2 LOST (-10 units)
The betting odds are from the time when the article was published and are subject to change. Sutjeska Niksic vs Linfield betting tips and match preview represents the personal opinion of the author (Joey). The predictions are verified and provided in good faith, but no earnings are guaranteed. Please play responsibly.