Zlin vs Lokomotiv Moscow by DamirJ
Zlin comes into this one from a point taken away from home last Saturday afternoon in a 1:1 draw against Brno. Even though they looked like having decent chances prior the game, they should be satisfied with a point taken since they were back in the scoreline since 32nd minute when Zikl brought the hosts into the lead, while the visiting side stood with a man less since 69th minute when their defender Ondrej Baco got red carded.
Even though they played with a man less, players of Zlin risked more and were threatening in last phase of the game, completely deserving the point taken thanks to a goal from Mehanovic in 84th minute. The side now stands at ninth position in 1 Czech Liga, being already ten points below Europa League and fourth placed Liberec. As for this competition, they are locked at fourth position with two points so far, without any chance to reach the knockout phase nor the third position.
Their domestic season has ended for now, so there are no special reasons to change the squad much. Home team should miss forward Jean-David Beauguel (4/0) who is injured for a month already.
It seems that Lokomotiv Moscow have entered really good form at the moment, since the team comes from their fourth consecutive victory, three in Premier League of Russia and a win over Copenhagen 2:1 in previous round of Europa League group stage that now makes their chances of progressing further much bigger.
In the previous round of Premier League, the side won at home over Rubin Kazan last Saturday afternoon with narrow 1:0 result thanks to a goal from Farfan in 87th minute. Overall impression is that it was a very difficult victory in a very defensive game, but that's how most of the matches of Lokomotiv look like. As for their domestic league, the side now leads the table having six points more than Zenit and surely wanting to remain in commanding lead for as much as possible.
The side plays away to Tosno next Monday, so there's no plenty of reason to rotate in such important European game. Goalkeeper Guilherme (15/0) remains sidelined with a thigh injury, while doubtful remain defender Vedran Corluka (no performance this season anyway) coming from a long term injury and forward Ari (2/1).
I doubt that in-form Russians will calculate something here and waiting to hear the result of the second match in this group. They have form on their side, but also individual quality and against opponents that have no competitive motive in this one, should be able to record a victory that grants them progress to the knockout phase.