Match : Sporting CP vs Viktoria Plzen
Competition : Europe League
Time / Date : 22:05h / 8 March 2018
Venue : Estadio Jose Alvalade
Sporting’s title hopes were all but ended on Friday night, following a 2-1 defeat by Porto in the Primeira Liga. That has opened up an eight point gap between the pair, and it has left the Lions with a chance of missing out on the Champions League. While Sporting have the League Cup won already, they risk fizzling out in the closing stages of the season. If they’re to add more silverware and secure a place in Europe’s main competition, they’ll need to hit form in the Europa League.
Sporting return to European action on Thursday, hosting Plzen in Lisbon. While the visitors are leading the way domestically, this game could be a step too far for the Czech outfit. Sporting have impressed in Europe this season, as they pushed Juventus for a place in the last 16 of the Champions League. They were also a challenge for Barcelona at this ground, while they hit three goals home and away to Olympiakos to easily wrap up third.
With their league campaign faltering, we see Sporting making a tilt for this competition. Their high scoring nature in Europe is likely to lead to an entertaining first leg here, especially after sharing 10 goals with Astana in the last round. After those two high scoring legs, Sporting have now seen over 2.5 goals in seven of their last eight matches in this competition.
Plzen have already made a huge success by reaching this stage of the competition. They have actually had a tremendous campaign so far in the season in both Czech Liga and Europa League. The team led by Pavel Vrba is nine points clear at the top of the Czech Liga standings with a game in hand on Slavia Prague in second place and we can say that Viktorka practically have the domestic title in the bag.
Moreover, Plzen went on to top their respective Europa League group ahead of the likes of FCSB, Lugano and Hapoel Be’er Sheva and they took the most out of somewhat easier draw for the last 32 round defeating Serbian champions Partizan 2-0 on aggregate.
Josip Misic (Red card suspension), Seydou Doumbia (Unknown Injury), Cristiano Piccini (Tear in the abductor muscle), Daniel Podence (Fractured foot)
FC Viktoria Plzen
Marian Cisovsky (Virus Infection)
This will be the first ever head to head encounter between these two sides.
Home team is way better that their opponent and I expect to take the win in style.