Marítimo have an extremely tough task ahead in the Europa League’s play-off
The islanders have managed to knock Botev Plovdiv out, with good exhibitions, but now they will have to face Dinamo Kiev.
The Ukrainian team, designed to try their luck in the Champions League, has been eliminated by Young Boys with a late 2nd leg goal, and will now try to rebuild after that disappointment.
They are at the top of the Ukrainian league and they see no possible outcome other than qualifying for the Europa League’s group stage at this point.
Marítimo’s best performances so far, this season, have been against the fragile Bulgarian side.
On Liga NOS, they got a home victory against Paços de Ferreira and then they lost on their away trip to Belenenses, in a match where their players clearly showed some fatigue.
It is a very mentally demanding start of the season for this set of players, who aren’t used to these wanderings.
Despite playing at home, against a team that should motivate them, it is undeniable the difference in quality between these two teams.
The first placed team in the Ukrainian League Dinamo Kiev comes into this match with a roster full of big names, with Ukrainian internationals (Rudko, Khacheridi, Sydorchuk, Yarmolenko and Kravets) accompanied by some talented players, who really bring quality to this group, such as Croatian Vida, Congolese Mbokani or Paraguayan Derlis González.
After their failed trip to Bern, the trip to Madeira is under a lot of pressure, but also enormous focus from this experienced side, who should be able to get through these hard times.
Maritimo vs Dinamo Kiev Pick:
Marítimo will tend to play on the anticipation, despite playing at home, looking to slow the pace of the game and take advantage of a mistake by the Ukrainian team.
Still, the quality and experience of the Kiev’s squad should allow them to use that superiority to start taking care of this tie in Funchal already, and take a good result to the 2nd leg in Kiev.