Preview: Gent vs. Qarabag FK
Gent will attempt to turn around a one-goal deficit on Thursday night when they welcome Qarabag FK for their second-leg match in the Europa Conference League.
The European journey will end for one of the two teams this week, and after both picked up a win in their respective leagues at the weekend they should have plenty of belief for this one.
Gent were left frustrated in the opposite leg of this fixture last week when they conceded a late 78th-minute goal against Qarabag FK, which they were unable to respond to.
Despite the fact they dominated the possession, Leandro Andrade’s strike proved to be the difference maker between the two teams, giving the visitors an advantage heading into this game.
Ultimately, it is not a result that Gent fans will have been too surprised by considering their team were unable to register a single shot on target throughout the 90 minutes.
Hein Vanhaezebrouck’s men proved their attacking qualities at the weekend though as they returned to league action by defeating Oud-Heverlee Leuven by two goals to nil.
A repeat of that result will be enough to provide safe passage into the next round of the Europa Conference League, but that is not something the visitors will easily provide.
Qarabag FK were offensively impressive in the reverse fixture as they registered more than double the number of shots on goal than their opponents, even if only four were on target.
They followed their victory up with another at the weekend which extended their unbeaten run to six games in all competitions which should provide the team with a lot of belief.
Gurban Gurbanov’s men left it very late in that match, with an 86th-minute own goal helping them to win the game 1-0, but defensively it was another strong performance as they picked up a clean sheet.
That is something that they will be hoping to repeat on Thursday night, and the fact that the team have not conceded more than one goal in a game across their previous five outings is a good sign.
A third consecutive clean sheet would guarantee a place in the next round, but the visitors cannot afford to be too cautious in this match or else they will risk being caught out.
Gent Europa Conference League form:
Gent form (all competitions):
Qarabag FK Europa Conference League form:
Qarabag FK form (all competitions):
We say: Gent 1-1 Qarabag FK (Qarabag FK to win 2-1 on aggregate)
This is bound to be another close game due to how tight things were in the first leg, and that could create some nervy moments for both.
While Gent will fancy their chances at scoring at least once at home, it would not be a shock to see the visitors also get on the scoresheet to cause a surprise.