Aron Wright - July 17, 2018
Keshla vs Balzan FC
Europa League First qualifying round
Date: Thursday, 19 July 2018
Kick-Off at 18:00 UK/ 19:00 CET
Venue: Dalga Arena (Baku).
Maltese side Balzan have one foot in the second round of the Europa League 2018/19 qualifiers after a thumping 4-1 win against Azerbaijan team Keshla.
We believed prior to kick-off that Keshla are in the better position to qualify and that playing away in the first leg could work to their advantage. Anyhow, it was not there to be, kudos to the minnows from Malta who has now defied all pre-match odds.
FT – Keshla to win at the odds of 1.75
Over 2.5 full-time match goals at the odds of 2.20
Both clubs have been at this stages many times before and suffered first round exits so these two games should be interesting given that one team is guaranteed to go through to the second round qualifying.
The reality though is that both teams are of a poor standard and nobody expects them to be able to enter the Europa League proper, but at this stage both teams can at least hope for the best.
The Maltese league does not start until the middle of next month and so Balzan will be playing their first competitive games of the season over these two legs of the qualifiers.
It is the same situation in Azerbaijan where Keshla has not played since May. They would have hoped to carry on the momentum as they finished their last 3 games of the season all with wins. Now, they stand a herculean task to get back to winning ways and overturn a three goal deficit.
The 4-1 humbling defeat from first leg last week is Keshla’s lone meeting with Balzan in a competitive football game.