On the 2nd leg of this play-off between Sporting and Steaua Bucharest, the Portuguese and the Romanian sides will face off
After a goalless draw in Alvalade, the teams have left it all undecided regarding the outcome of this tie, namely which team qualifies for the Champions League’s group stage (winning around 15 Million Euros in the process) and which team is eliminated and must “settle” with the Europa League’s group stage (winning a lot less when compared to the UCL).
From the Romanian side, Balasa will be absent, while Mathieu can be missing from the visitors’ side, after the injury suffered in the match against Guimarães.
Steaua has made an interesting exhibition in Alvalade, as opposed to Sporting, with an interesting dynamic and several goal chances created, while Jorge Jesus’ team has certainly made one of their worst official matches so far in this season (probably the worst), not being able to take advantage of their favouritism.
With that, the match ended in a 0-0, which might even be beneficial for the Portuguese since, if they get a draw with goals in Romania, ensure their qualification to the Champions League.
In any way, Jesus’ team will have to improve their game quality a lot if they want to knock out the Romanians, who tend to be strong at home.
Romania is never an easy place to play in, but the exhibition in Guimarães might have left some good impressions (although Steaua should be a lot better than this Guimarães side, obviously).
After the match in Guimarães, Jorge Jesus said to the press:
«This match was violent in the competitive context, since we played with 32 degrees and under unbearable heat, with a lot of humidity.
It doubled the effort needed for both teams. We were coming from a Champions League match, and both Gelson and Bas Dost were heavily fatigued. Now we must think how we will recover the players who struggled to finish this match.
To make matters worse, we also have Mathieu’s injury, which I still don’t know what it is, but we will lose a lot of stability with him not being available. Playing with Mathieu is one thing, and playing without him is something completely different»
Steaua Bucharest vs Sporting Pick:
In a match where both teams are “forced” to score, for different reasons, I predict a different match from the one that was played in Lisbon.
Steaua is a strong team playing at home (and their last home matches ended with goals, almost every time), playing with an offensive style – and a victory in this match ensures them qualification for the UCL group stage.
Regarding Sporting, the team knows that if they score they will be closer to the qualification, despite possibly being with a heavy absence in their defence, just like Jorge Jesus stated.
This way, I expect in a result at least like a 1-1 draw, or better.
|Over 2 goals||