HNK Rijeka vs The New Saints
UEFA Champions League 2017/18 – Second qualifying round
Date: Tuesday, 11th July 2017
Kick-off at 19:45 UK/ 20:45 CET
Venue: Stadion HNK Rijeka (Rijeka).
The Croatian outfit HNK Rijeka in the UEFA Champions League second round qualification tie against The New Saints from Wales.
Rijeka are entering the UEFA Champions League qualification phase for the first time since their one-off appearance in 1999/2000. They were knocked out by neighbors FK Partizan Belgrade on that occasion on a 6-1 margin.
Over the past decade, the Croats made two appearances at the Europa League group stages – on 2013/14 and 2014/15 . Rijeka failed to make it out of their group on both occasions. But they do boast of an unbeaten home record during the period, including the matches from the qualification phase. Their 12 matches saw 8 wins and 4 draws. However, they were knocked out of the second qualification stage of the Europa League in the last two seasons.
The New Saints made a brilliant comeback in the second leg to overturn a first leg home defeat against Europa FC from Gibraltar. The match went into the extra time with both legs seeing a similar 2-1 score after 180 minutes of player, before Scott Quigley scored his second goal of the night to see the Welsh side through to the second round. Interestingly, it was Quigley who scored the lone goal in the first leg home defeat.
However, TNS have never made it to the group phase of a UEFA competition. Their best is a third qualifying round appearance in 2010/11 before being knocked out by Anderlecht. And then they were eliminated from the Europa League play-offs by Bulgaria CSKA Sofia. Since then, TNS made it to the second qualification round of Champions League on 7 consecutive seasons.
Rijeka vs The New Saints: Head-to-head
This is the first head-to-head meeting between the two sides.
Rijeka vs The New Saints: Prediction
Rijeka warmed up to this crucial tie with a series of friendly games and they are a team in good spirits after picking up three wins and a draw from four games. The notable wins came against Lokomotive Moscow and Astra Giurgiu.
Adding these to their strong record at home in European contests, Rijeka must win this with relative ease. The bookies are pricing a home win at short odds, therefore we need to look into other markets.
Rijeka vs The New Saints: Bet Tips
Under 2.5 goals at 3.00 with Unibet seems to be the best pick for this match, expecting TNS to adopt an ultra defensive approach.
I will be also going with the correct full-time score of 2-0 in the favour of the Croats for 6.00 odds with William Hill.