Thursday, December 03, 2009

EUROPA LEAGUE .............


Bit surprised and pleased by the odds here, where I feel the oddsmakers have underestimated the Romanian side, who will be eager to impress new Italian boss, Andrea Mandolini, who has only been at the helm since the middle of last month, overseeing just two games. This will be his first ever european tie, despite coaching nine clubs in his homeland, so something of a big occasion for him. CFR dominated the second half of the reverse fixture, which they eventually won 2-0, their only win of the group stage, but the winning margin could have been greater and they have had little luck in their other games, when in each, they have been on top for extended periods .They will be boosted by the return to the squad of striker Yssouf Kone, who had terrific success at Rosenborg, averaging better than a goal a game there and he might well be further inspired by a return to Scandinavia, providing he goes easy on the red wine !

Both teams need a win to really keep their chances of progression alive and this could get quite stretched after a cautious opening, but I feel the key factor here is FCK's fixture at the weekend, when they travel to face league leaders Odense, in an absolutely vital game. OB lead Super Ligaen by four points and this will be the last match before the winter break, FCK just cannot afford to lose that and sit at home for almost three months dwelling on a seven point gap at the top of the table. I feel that they will be looking to win tonight with the minimum of effort and if they do fall behind, I am not certain how much chasing they will be prepared to do.

Player for player, I rate Cluj the slightly better side, they made a mistake with the appointment of their last coach who was only in charge for a few months, defensively they were struggling under him and already there has been noticable improvement in this department, I am reliably informed, since Mandorlini took over. They are definitely taking this game seriously and I just cannot get away from the thought that FCK might have other priorities.

6 points Cluj +3/4 ball 1.90 asian line.

Good Luck

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