Gent hosts AEK Larnaca in the second leg of the Europa League qualification semifinals. The match will be played on Thursday, August 15th at Ghelamco Arena (Gent)
In the first match in Cyprus, Gent got an acceptable result for the advancing to the next round, having played a scoring 1-1 draw. Now even a 0-0 draw will suit the Belgians perfectly. But Gent is not from the category of teams that would dry the game and keep goalless draws. After the Belgian championship ended in May, the Buffaloes played only 2 matches at home, but they scored 12 goals! 6 to the net of Vitorul in the Europa League, and 6 to Eupen in the local championship.
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AEK is neither Vitorul nor Eupen. It does not concede 6 goals and even 2 rarely. But if you exclude APOEL in the local championship, Gent is the most serious opponent with whom the Cypriots have to play this year. By the way, AEK got to the group stage of the Europa League for the second time in its history last year. It tied 2 matches with Ludogorets and even beat Zurich. But it was not enough to progress from the group. And AEK conceded 12 goals in those 6 matches. We will see a couple in the upcoming game either.
Yes, Cypriots, in principle, are reliable in defense. In the local championship. And they kept a clean sheet in all 4 matches of the 2 previous stages of qualification. But they played with Moldavian Petroclub and Bulgarian Levski. Gent is much stronger than both of them are. However, Gent, like most Belgian teams, is focused primarily on an aggressive game in the attack. In its last 15 matches, it has not left the field without a goal. In 11 of them, it scored more than 1 goal. The situation is such that the visitors can’t but have to go forward to score the goal necessary to continue the struggle. With the Buffaloes, such tactics are fraught with consequences. Gent is good in attack but not strong in defense. It kept a clean sheet in only 4 of the last 15 matches. But the team is not used to sit back on heels. It will try to press the visitors to their goal throughout the match. And we will certainly at least 2 goals scored by the hosts.
Prediction for the match: Gent to score over 1.5 goals