Astra vs Plzen by Isaiah
Astra didn't start their Europa League campaign well with two defeats, but the things improved a lot in the previous round when Romanian side managed to get a 1:2 victory on the road to Plzen and are now looking very competitive in a race to get the knockout phase in the end. Especially in case the team manages to fight out a victory tonight against the same opponent.
It was a very interesting game back in Plzen, since both teams looked quite offensive, while the Romanians looked very dangerous in their fast counter attacks they were showing almost for the whole game. Plzen had more of the ball possession and looked like dominating one, but the guests scored against the flow of the game in 41st via Alibec, while they doubled up the result with an own goal from Horava in 64th minute. Hosts didn't give up and managed to reduce the deficit near the end of the game, but without being able to completely revert the scoreline. Astra comes from a 2:2 draw against Dinamo Bucuresti in the domestic league, but are nowhere near the desired standard of form for now, being only at tenth position with fourteen points out of fourteen matches played. Home side has midfielder Damien Boudjemaa (3/0) remains injured.
Even though Plzen is yet to record a victory in Europa League group stage, thanks to two draws (against Austria and Roma) they are also having chances of reaching the knockout phase, but they will need to get a positive outcome here. A victory here would change everything for them and the team will super boost their chances as well.
As already said, the team was more dominant and looked like at the beginning they will be the ones who will get more out of it, but in the end stood defeated and still without a victory. Their road is easier in domestic league, with the side coming from a narrow 1:0 victory over Dukla Prague, as they reside at the first position already, with 9-2-1 record and three points more than first followers from Mlada Boleslav.
I see both teams aiming a victory here and not being particularly satisfied with a point taken only. It's something that should open up the game completely, similar to the one we already saw couple of weeks ago. My call is over goals with both teams being surely able to score more than once.