Llanelli - Motherwell

Small amateur club from Wales, Llanelli made the biggest surprise in the first-legs of UEFA Europa League Qualifications. The team leader and absolutely number one is player-manager Andrew “Andy” Legg, 42 years old, who made a world record with 41 m long throw! Before the game, European audience (including myself, have to admit) was making the jokes from his statement how they’re not afraid, will give their best to eliminate Scotchmen and will try to make them run! Somehow it still sounds funny. However, Llanelli successfully defended the entire game, goalie Ashley Morris was brilliant all 90 minutes and kept his net at the end. To make the game even more shocking took care Stuart Jones who scored in 28.min. and humiliated home boss Jim Gannon and his debut. In re-match they have no reason to make some tactically changes, will defend the whole game with ten players on 30 meters from own goal and wait for Andy’s long throw. 

Motherwell had the season in domain competition under all expectations. Club finished the regular part of season at seventh place and played in play-out group. They reached Europe thankfully to fair-play invitation. Then nobody thought it can be worse. New manager Jim Gannon faced the leaving of some important players, including excellent striker David Clarkson (went to Bristol City). At the first step they suffered an embarrassing defeat from Welsh part-timers and that can be only the forecast of forthcoming season. With the current rooster, additionally filled with the youngsters and without new sign-ups, Motherwell will very possible face a battle for avoiding relegation. 
But, the fact is, even with eleven youngsters on the pitch, Motherwell is far better team. The good news is game has been moved from the Reds' home ground Stebonheath Park's to Parc y Scarlets, capacity of just under 15 000. The pitch is bigger, usually it is advantage for more quality team. Fans show unlimited support and 3 300 tickets have been allocated to them.

Now, it is not funny. Players won’t point with fingers on Welshmen, fans won’t cheer the amusing songs about them. Andy Legg’s lads deserved their respect. Club’s name is the stake and every possibility about underestimating is excluded. During the past few days British press have been making a joke from them and I expect the answer. Counting on pure rage on the pitch I go on away win (Pinnacle 1.90), but with a lead at half time. 2-2 ht/ft.


Keflavik - Valletta

Before the first leg, Iceland lads were announced as a slight favorite, but encounter ended with shocking 0-3 defeat. Some factors were crucial for that epilogue. That was the third game for Keflavik in just seven days. Guys traveled about 3000 kilometers to Malta and then they had to face for them unbelievable climate conditions that made them feel like fish out of water. But, before the re-match situation is opposite. Beside that, differently from Valleta, they’re in full competition shape, in Iceland league ten round have past. Also, Keflavik make a much better displays at home ground. 

Valleta is amateur side, but one of the biggest Maltese clubs, with a streak of 19 consecutive titles in domain league (till last season). New boss is Ton Caanen former manager of Dutch team Roda Kerkrade and the Ukrainian team Metallurg Donetsk. He brought two fellow citizens in the club, veteran Jordi Cruyff and Geert Den Ouden from De Graafschaps. The squad is still in the phase of the preparation for the new season and far from desired shape. Also, fact the most of players are in late football years won’t increase their chances. They’re outsiders in this game and despite the huge 3-0 advantage, will have a lots of problems to secure the progress in the next round.

Keflavik is much better team and should win this easily. Problem is, bookmakers know all of these counted facts and offer miserable odds for home win. I think over is also very probable and take the decent odd (10bet 1.79), considering the risk.


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