Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Prediction: FK Sarajevo vs Atalanta

Verdict: Atalanta -1 Asian Handicap

Best Odds: 8/13

Bookmaker: 888Sport

Serie A side Atalanta have their Europa League campaign in the balance after throwing a 2-0 lead at the Mapei Stadium in the first leg of the second qualifying round against FK Sarajevo.

FK Sarajevo

The Bosnian outfit FK Sarajevo pulled one of the biggest coups in the first leg of the Europa League second qualifying round. The Maroon-Whites held Atalanta to a 2-2 draw after heroically coming from two goals down.

The Italians headed into the match as the clear-cut favourites and took a comfortable 2-0 lead in the first half already. The tables turned in the second interval when visitors pushed the pedal and attacked the Orobici straight from the second-half whistle. Haris Handzic scored seven minutes after the hour-mark whereas Aldin Sisic leveled the score after 72 minutes. The Bosnian side held pretty well until the end and is heading into the rematch on the front foot where both a goalless draw and a potential 1-1 stalemate would see them eliminate the more illustrious Serie A opponents. FK Sarajevo used the momentum from the first leg to record their first win in the Bosnian Premier League this last weekend. The Maroon-Whites romped over Mladost DK with a comfortable 4-0 win and will be bursting with morale ahead of the Atalanta rematch.

Team News

Head coach Husref Musemic made a couple of changes for the weekend duel against Mladost DK with Nurman Kurdic making his first-team debut and Almir Bekic getting a run-out for the first time after his injury.

FK Sarajevo are widely expected to field their strongest team against Atalanta with Mersudin Ahmetovic expected to lead the line in attack from the start.

Atalanta

With AC Milan reinstated to the Europa League after having their ban overturned earlier in July, Atalanta were forced to go through the qualifiers to seal their place in this year’s edition of the competition. Gian Piero Gasperini were pitted against the Bosnian side FK Sarajevo which was not expected to be a tough nut to crack.

The Orobici headed into the game in full force with Rafael Toloi and Gianluca Mancini putting the hosts up front in the first half. The first half served proof to a clear gulf in class between the two sides but Atalanta still failed to hold on to the two-goal cushion and made thing ever so more difficult for them. With Sarajevo going into the return leg with two away goals in their pocket, Atalanta will need to go full force from the off. We do expect an open-minded play from the Orobici who clearly are a better team. They will most certainly be motivated to prove it – all over again – and seal progression into the next round of the competition.

Team News

Alejandro Dario Gomez picked up a knock in the first leg. The 30-year-old midfielder worked iseparately over the past couple of days but should be fit to feature from the start.

Slovenian midfielder Josip Ilicic remains sidelined with injury.

Key Factors to Consider

  • There has been over 2.5 goals scored in Atalanta’s last 5 matches
  • The Orobici managed only 2 clean sheets during their last 10 games
  • There has been over 2.5 goals scored in FK Sarajevo’s last 10 outings
  • Bosnians won all of their last six home matches in all competitions
  • Atalanta lost four of their last 10 away games

Conclusion

A gapping difference in quality between the two sides played no part in the first match in Italy when Atalanta dropped a two-goal lead and flushed a nice opportunity to book their ticket into the third qualifying round. The Orobici will now have to go an extra mile to make sure FK Sarajevo missed a chance to record another shocker of a result.

Verdict: Atalanta -1 Asian Handicap

Best Odds: 8/13

Bookmaker: 888Sport

 

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