Ludogorets vs Zrinjski
Ludogorets isn't having really a good start into the new season, as the team failed to continue their presence in the Champions League qualifiers. After their easy victories over Crusaders in the first qualifying round, the side was stopped by Hungarian champions from MOL Vidi.
They were far better in the first leg at home but failed to be more concrete in attack and to make the chances count that night. They got into trouble early in the second leg, as their player Vura got red carded in the 40th minute and it was difficult to play from that on.
- Ludogorets Razgrad have failed to win their last 5 matches in UEFA Europa League.
The Hungarian team took the lead in 42nd minute thanks to a goal from Hadzic. Players of Ludogorets had more ball possession in the second part, but couldn't create proper chances while the hosts knew how to defend and were dangerous on counter attacks.
As for the domestic league, they come from narrow and unexpected 0:1 defeat at home against Lokomotiv Plovdiv last Saturday evening. They were far better and should have won, but couldn't simply score a goal even missing a penalty early in the second halftime. Mihaljevic managed to score the only goal in 86th minute in one of rare, if not only chance for the visiting side.
Left-back Nedyalkov was signed from MLS side Dallas, while central defender Grigore came from Qatari side Al Sailiya. They also have a new coach from this season, Paulo Autuori. Goalkeeper Vladislav Stoyanov is injured. Central midfielder Anicet remains long-term absentee. Newly signed defender Grigore probably isn't ready yet coming from injury slowly.
Zrinjski started their European campaign with exclusion from Slovakian side Spartak Trnava in the first Champions League round. They even looked better in those two rounds failing to be more concrete in the attack. However, looking now it seems that it was more about the Slovak side that didn't enter the proper form on time. Still, they managed to qualify in the end.
- Zrinjski went to the second qualifying round of Europa League getting Valletta for their opponent. To the first leg in Mostar, Zrinjski got only a 1:1 draw.
They were better, but not that much and really allowed Maltese to threaten them a lot especially in the second halftime. However, the side from Bosnia managed to make the chance count in the second leg as they progressed thanks to goals from Barisic and Filipovic, even though they played with a man less since the 50th minute. Overall, it was a very open game and could have ended way differently on some other day.
As for the domestic league, the side has two starting victories, but have suffered 2:0 defeat away to Zeljeznicar last Sunday evening. Krpic scored both goals in the first halftime (one from the penalty kick) as it seems that busy schedule is hurting Zrinjski at the moment. Still, they are only one point behind league leaders from Siroki Brijeg at the moment.
Right back Marin Gajic (6/0) is suspended for this one after getting red-carded in a game in Malta. Goalkeeper Ivan Brkic (4/0) is injured and shouldn't be risked here, while highly doubtful are also offensive players Amer Bekic (2/0), Milos Acimovic (4/1) and Marko Bencun (3/0) due to various injuries.
It's obvious that exclusion from Champions League hurt their morale in recent days, but now being back to the European stage there is no other option for the Bulgarians to re-group and reach the Europa League group stage in the end. That's at least minimum of their expectations. The home side might not be in the perfect momentum, but so does Zrinjski seems to be in a downtrend. Individual quality difference surely exists.
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Ludogorets vs Zrinjski prediction
Ludogorets -1.5 Asian handicap @ 1.76 with Pinnacle