FC Timisoara - Shakhtar Donetsk

Timisoara had a more than successful season in Romanian league. They finished at the second place with just three points less than champions Unirea. Timisoara have a new boss, Ioan Ovidiu Sabau who came from Bistrica, but team is almost the same. Only big signing is midfielder Vuorceanu (ex Otelul). They had a very interesting home record, 14 wins, one draw and just two defeats! Usually, home ground and noisy fans (btw. stadium is sold out for tonight’s game) are very big advantage for them. Also, they like to play counter attacks, have very fast wingers and that strategy gives the results against main Romanian teams (Steaua, Cluj, Rapid…), but also in Ukraine in first match. In Donetsk, Timisoara were defending at own half almost entire game, but made (just) two counter attacks and scored twice with two goals by George Bukur! At the end 2-2 draw that gives decent chances for progress. Good news for Sabau come from medical, as key striker Costa Rican Winston Parks, who got a knock in Donetsk, is just slightly injured and will appear.

In the previous season, Shakhtar failed to brake Dynamo Kiev’s domination in Ukraine and, like Timisoara, finished second. With a trophy from UEFA Cup it was far from bad season, but it’s not enough to fill the appetite of the chairman, multimillionaire Rinat Akhmetov. Beside the title in domain league, group stage of the Champions League is a main target. But, they faced a big obstacle on the first step. Against Romanians, Shakhtar were much better opponent, dominating during the game, creating the chances and two times hit the post, but at the end just a draw. For a re-match, they’ll be much stronger. Boss Mircea Lucescu watched the first game from the hospital, but will lead the team from the bench in Romania. Also, two key defenders Razvan Rat and Dmytro Chygrynskiy will return to the squad. Players learnt their lesson, this time won’t be any underestimation, but will have to chase the result. Very unfriendly crowd will make them a hot welcome on the stadium, but it is something that Ukrainian side used to face with. Stake is the highest, Akhmetov knows to be very generous, quality is on their side and I see Shakhtar as a favorite tonight.

Home side has a result that give them a chance to play patient using every chance for counter-attacks, as they like the most. Visitors are under the pressure to show first game was just a bad day. For them, elimination would mean the season is over, even before it actually started. I see another high scoring game and go on goals. Expekt offer 1.95. Over.


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