The great popularity of the Europa League is also due to the fact that clubs from different nations have the chance to present themselves on the international stage. While the same names are almost always to be found in the premier class, there are always one or two surprises in the Europa League.
For example, teams from Moldova and Ireland, Bosnia and Montenegro, the Faroe Islands and Georgia, and Cyprus and Bosnia will meet in the qualifying semi-finals. One of the clubs will make it into the playoffs and will be close to getting a place in the group stage.
One of these games will take place on Thursday evening in the Cypriot capital and between APOEL Nicosia and Zrinjski Mostar the odds for a tip on the hosts are quite low. The troops from the island are clearly favored by the best bookmakers.
Whether this assessment is correct will be seen in the 90 minutes after kick-off. This will take place at 19:00 p.m. in the GSP Stadium by the Polish referee Daniel Stefanski.
The First Division in Cyprus was one of the leagues that had to be canceled in March due to the pandemic. On the penultimate match day, APOEL Nicosia separated from city rivals Omonia 0-0 and ended the season in third place in the final table.
The club had to be content with qualifying for the Europa League. Both hurdles have been overcome there so far. Against Gjilani from Kosovo, APOEL continued to tremble after the extension. Then the 4: 1 against Kaisar from Kazakhstan was a clear thing. Double goal scorer was Thomas de Vincento, who will be seeded again on Thursday.
Not only the Argentine attacker, but also the entire team has stabilized significantly after a bumpy start to the season and won all of the last three competitive games. At the weekend there was a 2-0 at Paralimni and this time Ghayas Zahid became the match winner. The 25-year-old Norwegian contributed both goals for his team.
After this performance, coach Marinos Ouzounidis has little reason to change anything in the starting lineup. Without spectators, the home advantage for the home side is almost entirely eliminated. Nevertheless, a prognosis for the home win between APOEL Nicosia and Zrinjski Mostar makes sense, since the quality of play is much higher with the home team.
For Zrinjski Mostar from Bosnia, entering the group stage of the Europa League would be one of the greatest successes in the club’s history. Last season, the club ended up in third place and won the ticket for the Euro League qualification. There was a clear 3-0 home win against FC Differdingen from Luxembourg.
Then the success away at Olimpija Ljubljana was a bit surprising. Mladen Žižović’s protégés won after extra time and showed great morale in this encounter. The Bosnians came back twice after falling behind. The goalscorer was always Nemanja Bilbija, who is in excellent shape. The 29-year-old has scored at least once in the last three competitive games.
In the league, the club ranks eighth in the Premier League table. Three goals conceded in six encounters clearly show that the team’s strength lies on the defensive. In the last season Zrinjski Mostar conceded significantly less than an average of one goal per game.
The back team will be challenged significantly more on Thursday than in most league games. Only if she can withstand this pressure, then a surprise is possible and between APOEL Nicosia and Zrinjyski Mostar a prognosis in the direction of the guests can be ventured.