CSKA Sofia vs Riga FC
1st leg of EL match between CSKA Sofia and FC Riga.
I will start with the fact I am absolutely amazed by the odds right now. How on earth CSKA have under 1.20 odds, while Riga are pointed with about 13.00 odds. That's crazy, totally crazy! Why? OK, I will start with the obvious things- CSKA main striker, their MVP of the last season Fernando Karanga was sold yesterday and will have to be changed. Despodov also is not an option, because he is not the typical striker, he is used more on the flangs and is injured with really small chances to start the match. These two were one of the most important players during CSKA last season and they were the one, who made the biggest problems against the other best teams in Bulgaria- Ludogorets and Levski Sofia. Stanislav Manolev is also out of the team and he was also key player on the flang, no matter if he has to play more defensively or attacking.
CSKA are also with a new coach, who is not sure how fast will adapt with the new club as a foreign manager. OK, CSKA won 3 of their friendlies and drew in the last three including matches againse Brondby and Shakhtar, but he don't have to forget these are only friendlies and Karanga played in them and even scored against the Ukrainians. Nestor El Maestro looks very good option, but he will need time to earn the results he wants. And their 1st official match to be against Baltic team like Riga looks very bad for me. Maybe you will ask why? Will try to give you some of the main reasons.
First of all their league is in progress and they are sitting in 2nd place with impressive run of wins. With such a competitive form they have it's unnecessary to compare them with out team, which have to play only firendlies for some level of preparation before the match. Riga have a lot of tall and strong players, who can play very good defensively- they are with 6 matches in a row without conceded goal and will rely on counters in Sofia together with free kicks and corners. They will not come to Sofia just to defend and to lose with 2/3 goals difference..Riga will come in mind at least to take a draw, I am sure about that and they have their chances for me.
Secondly, maybe some of you remember what happened last year when much stronger and experienced team in Europe in the last seasons like Ludogorets met the Lithuanian Zalgiris Kaunas. Bulgarian champions lost the first match in Kaunas 2:1 and then in Razgrad when all expected an easy win, we saw what happened. Zalgiris took the lead and only their lack of experience allow Ludogorets to use their chances and scored 3 goals, which destroyed Zalgiris rhythm and they gave up. Ludogorets succeeded to win 4:1, but it was really hard win, especially in the 1st half. So, if you thing our teams are so much better than the Baltic ones, you are totally wrong. Only Ludogorets are more classy than the teams in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, but CSKA with all these problems in attack, new manager and we know about their EL problems during the last seasons against teams like Zimbru, Mura, etc..It looks absolutely impossible CSKA to win with more than a goal difference. I have the bad feeling it will end 0:0 or 1:1, but still hope CSKA will win 1:0.
+1.5 Riga AH is my pick here and I am fully confident this is like a gift with these high odds. Riga in such competitive good form looks impossible to lose with more than a goal difference in Sofia, unless they got a red card early in the match.
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CSKA Sofia vs Riga FC prediction
|Riga +1.5 AH||Pinnacle||1.83||10||1-0 WON (+8.3 units)|