FK Ventspils - Crvena Zvezda 18:00h

Here’s what I promised. Will try to be not biased.

Ventspils - Crvena Zvezda

In the previous round, Latvian side eliminated Belarus Shakhtyor Soligorsk. In the first (away) game, from the highlights I’ve seen, they were very fortunate. Defending all the game and in the stoppage time one shot from the distance for the victory. In re-match they were on the edge, losing 2-1, but got penalty and eventually scored a winner. Considering players’ quality, they’re half-amateur side and few classes below us. Their only advantage will be average height of 190cm(!) that could cause some problems after set pieces. Pitch dimensions are small and stadium has capacity of only 3.200 seats.

Zvezda has some nightmare seasons in Europe, usually being eliminated in this or next round. However, situation has been changed a lot since club’s legend Robert Prosinecki (lift the CL trophy with the club in 1991, played at Real and Barca after) took the charge. His football philosophy is possession and short passes (he’s heavily inspired by Barca). Far best line is midfield, there’re some problems with conversion of created chances (usually we need 3-4 sitters to score once) and biggest problem is defence line. Centre backs will be Tosic (natural position left back) and young Mijailovic (natural defensive midfielder). Both have already played in those roles and while they could be a serious weakness against some stronger rivals, today they should have a good day in the office. Team showed a serious approach and arrived two days before the game.

As I pointed, odd for away win is unexpectedly high. Our reputation in European competitions has been ruined lately, the small pitch is in not so good condition and there’s rain today. Their squad is very tall and we have scoring problems. But on the other hand, we’re far better team. Everything except a convincing win would be first class surprise. 0-2 correct score.

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