Villarreal take on the visitors Hajduk Split in the first leg of UEFA Conference League qualification finals. The match will be played on Thursday, August 18th at Estadi Ciutat de València (Valencia).
Villarreal may shift focus to the domestic arena this season. The Yellow Submarine are entering year 3 under Unai Emery. By inviting such a venerable specialist, the ambitious club was counting on progress. But got quite controvercial results. On the one hand, the mentor immediately won in a personal "branded" tournament, the Europa League - and this turned out to be the first serious trophy for the "submariners" in history. The best result in the Champions League was repeated in the last season. There, the Spaniards knocked out Juventus and Bayern in succession in the playoffs and reached the semi-finals. But at the same time, in the LaLiga, not only did they not get to 4th place from two attempts - on the contrary, in the spring they finished only 7th.
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Hajduk looks quite solid. The "Masters from the Sea" are rightfully listed as one of the strongest Croatian clubs. But at the same time, they are not the leader of local football, this status is unconditionally for Dinamo (Zagreb). At the same time, the wards of Valdas Dambrauskas finished the last season with dignity (2nd place and the cup) and started the new one. They lost to the champion in the Super Cup only in a penalty shoot-out, and in the new national championship they actively take points. And, most importantly, the Croats in the last round of the Conference League were able to knock out a difficult opponent, Vitoria Guimaraes. At home it turned out to beat the Portuguese 3-1. After that, on the road, the Croats played poorly, and were not particularly upset by the defeat, especially since Anderson's early goal remained the only one.
This will be the first ever match between Villarreal and Hajduk of Split. Villarreal are unlikely to be particularly motivated by this tournament, it is impossible to break into the Champions League through it. So we will limit ourselves to a neutral bet on "over 2.5 goals".
Prediction for the match: Over 2.5 scored goals.