AZ Alkmaar hosts Mariupol in the second leg of the Europa League qualification semifinals. The match will be played on Thursday, August 15th at Cars Jeans Stadion (The Hague)
The Dutch gained a goalless draw against Mariupol in Odesa. On the one hand, it is an acceptable away result. On the other hand, 1 goal scored by Ukrainians may put AZ in a difficult position. But that's just the question. Will Mariupol manage to score this very goal?
It is highly unlikely that it will. Mariupol couldn’t score at home, so why should it suddenly succeed in Holland? 3 days before the upcoming game, the Azov team had a match of the local championship against Karpaty in Lviv. The score was 1-1. But its Karpaty. Everyone and their dog score this team from season to season. For example, Lviv conceded 45 goals in the last championship of Ukraine. Only Chornomorets, which relegated from the league, had more. So, the goal of Mariupol to Karpaty is not an indicator of its dignity in the attack. But rather the opposite. The indicator of its inconsistency. Since only one goal was scored to such defense.
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Meanwhile, AZ Alkmaar does not concede in its last 5 games in a row. At the same time, AZ played only 2 times in its last 11 matches with Over 3.5 goals scored. In a friendly game with Brugge and the opening round of the local championship against Fortuna. Most likely, more than 3 goals will not be scored in the upcoming game. One goal is enough for the hosts to advance to the next round. But will they be able to score it? Surely, Mariupol will put a "double-decker." And it will not move it too far until the end of the match, even if it concedes 1 goal. Indeed, when the score is 1-1, the Ukrainians will go further. Still, there is the factor of the home field. Mariupol has the strongest defense neither in Europe nor even in Ukraine. Most likely, the Dutch will score their goal. And AZ may even increase the advantage. But we probably shouldn’t wait for an abundance of 4 or more goals. The game is a return one. The game will be played for the result, not for the sake of the show. And in such games, great scoring is not common.
Prediction for the match: AZ Alkmaar to win with +0.5 handicap and Under 3.5 goals scored