Monday, July 15, 2024

Prediction: Vikingur Reykjavik vs Shamrock Rovers

Veselin Trajkovic in Free Soccer Predictions 8 Jul 2024

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Verdict: Home win

Best odds: 10/11

Bookmaker: 888sport

Vikingur Reykjavik and Shamrock Rovers commence their Champions League qualifying campaign by facing each other at the Vikingsvollur Stadium in the opening round on Tuesday.

The home team enters this midweek encounter having recently advanced to the final of the Icelandic Men’s Football Cup and aims to secure an essential victory in the first leg.

Vikingur Reykjavik

Vikingur Reykjavik moved a step closer to claiming their fourth consecutive Icelandic Men’s Football Cup title on Wednesday, triumphing over Stjarnan Gardabaer in a penalty shootout following a 1-1 draw in regular time.

After trailing to a first-half goal by Danijel Dejan Djuric, Gudmundur Kristjansson dramatically equalized in the 91st minute, pushing the match into extra time. With no decisive result after an additional 30 minutes, the game proceeded to penalties, where the hosts emerged victorious with a 5-4 scoreline.

This victory aligns with their impressive form in the Besta deildin, where they have remained unbeaten in nine games, recording six wins and three draws since their 3-1 defeat to Kopavogur in May — their sole league loss this season.

Having secured the 2023 league championship, Vikingur are on track to retain their title, currently leading the table with 33 points from 14 matches, five points ahead of second-placed Valur Reykjavik.

Under Arnar Gunnlaugsson’s leadership, they went undefeated in 21 of their 22 games last season, achieving 19 wins and two draws, which earned them their seventh Besta deildin title and a place in the Champions League qualifiers.

Vikingur have yet to compete in any UEFA tournament, coming closest in the 2022/23 season, when they reached the third qualifying round but were defeated 4-1 on aggregate by Polish club Lech Poznan.

Team News

With his goal in last Wednesday’s win against Stjarnan, Djuric has now contributed to seven goals in his last three matches. The 21-year-old forward is proving to be a key player to watch.

Djuric, who has tallied six goals and three assists in 11 league games, is expected to feature prominently in the attack alongside Ari Sigurpalsson, Helgi Gudjonsson, and striker Valdimar Por Ingimundarson.

Shamrock Rovers

Shamrock Rovers bounced back to winning form in midweek, securing a 1-0 triumph over Dundalk FC in the Irish Premier League.

Johnny Kenny’s 29th-minute goal at Tallaght Stadium put the home side ahead, and a robust defensive display ensured they maintained their lead, handing Dundalk their 12th league defeat of the season.

This win followed two consecutive league losses for Shamrock Rovers: a 2-1 defeat to St. Patrick’s Athletic on June 13 and a 2-0 loss to Sligo Rovers at Showgrounds Stadium two weeks later.

Under Stephen Bradley, Shamrock Rovers have achieved nine wins and seven draws from their 23 Premier League games this season, amassing 34 points to place fourth in the table, 13 points behind league leaders Shelbourne.

The team has suffered seven losses this season, exceeding their total of four from the previous campaign when they clinched the league title with 72 points from 36 games, thereby qualifying for the Champions League qualifiers.

Although they missed out on European competition last season, the goal for the Hoops is to return to European football for the first time since 2022/23, when they competed in the Europa Conference League but were eliminated in the group stage.

In 2011, Shamrock Rovers made history by becoming the first Irish club to qualify for the UEFA Europa League with a 3-2 aggregate victory over Partizan, though they have yet to make their Champions League debut.

Team News

Celtic loanee Kenny has been responsible for both of Shamrock Rovers’ league goals this season, and we anticipate the 21-year-old will lead the attack once more. He is set to partner Jack Byrne up front, while the back three of Joshua Honohan, Roberto Lopes, and Sean Hoare are expected to remain unchanged after keeping a clean sheet against Dundalk over the weekend.

In terms of injuries, Bradley will be without several key players down the spine of the team. Neil Farrugia, Lee Grace, and Sean Kavanagh continue to be sidelined.

Veteran midfielder Rory Gaffney has been absent from the last 11 matches due to a serious injury and remains unavailable for Shamrock.

Conclusion

Coming off a thrilling cup win, Vikingur enters Tuesday’s match with confidence, eager to start their qualifying campaign strongly.

Meanwhile, Shamrock Rovers aim to build on their recent form against Dundalk but have faced challenges on the road, losing three of their last four games. A closely contested match is probably afoot at Vikingsvollur Stadium, with the home team securing a narrow victory.

Verdict: Home win

Best odds: 10/11

Bookmaker: 888sport

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Veselin Trajkovic


Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on seven different football blogs.

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