Sporting take on the visitors Qarabag at the Estadio Jose Alvalade the Round 1 of the UEFA Europa League Group E. The match will be played in Lisbon on Thursday, September 20th.
Sporting have been showing good performances in their local Primeria Liga and have not lost there yet this season. The Leoes have had three matches in front of their home crowd and have won all of them. In their Group E of the UEFA Europa League they will face Qarabag, Arsenal and Vorskla Poltava. They will probably compete for going through to the 1/16-finals of the tournament. Furthermore, the team of Jose Peseiro has been in a great shape lately so they have all the tools to do that. In their last three matches Sporting beat Maritimo with a 3-1 score, Feirense with a 1-0 score and drew against Benfica with a 1-1 score.
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Qarabag competed for the group stage of the Champions League but got to the Europa League group stage in the end. In the first qualification round of the most prestigious European tournament the Horsemen beat Olimpija Ljubljana from Slovenia (1-0, 0-0). In the second qualification round they beat Kukesi from Albania (0-0, 3-0). In the third one the team of Gurban Gurbanov lost to BATE Borisov from Belarus (0-1, 1-1). In the qualification play-offs of the Europa League they went through Sheriff Tiraspol from Moldova (0-1, 3-0). It`s worth noting that the team often shows bad performances on the away side unlike on their home field. Now they have to face one of the strongest opponents in their group. In their last three matches Qarabag beat SumQayit with a 1-0 score, Sheriff Tiraspol with a 3-0 score and drew against Neftci Baku with a 1-1 score.
Sporting and Qarabag have never faced each other before, the upcoming fixture will be the first one between them in history. Considering how bad the Horsemen often play on the away side it is likely that the Leoes will get the three points on Thursday.
Prediction for the match: Sporting to win with -1.0 handicap.