Slavia Prague vs Rio Ave: Preview and Prediction

SK Slavia Prague vs Rio Ave F.C:
Europa League Qualifier.
Date: Thursday, 28-July-2016
Kick-Off: 18:00 UK
Venue: Generali Arena (Prague).

Slavia Prague are looking to return to European football after a five year absence. They last appearance was in the 2009/10 edition of Europa League and since then failed to make it to the qualifying rounds of UEFA tournament. Their best ever run was during the 1995/96 season when they reached the semi finals of UEFA cup.

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Slavia finished fifth in the last season’s Czech League to enter the Europa League second qualifying round. They were drawn against Levadia Tallinn from Estonia and started the campaign with a 3-1 away loss. They managed to pull the deficit back in the home leg after the 2-0 win and progressed to the third round on away goal advantage.

Rio Ave made their first ever participation in a major European competition when they qualified for the 2014/15 Europa League. They finished bottom in the group which included Dynamo Kyiv, AaB and Steaua Bucharest. After missing out on last season, they are back to the qualifiers after finishing 6th in the 2015/16 Primeira Liga season.

Rio Ave were involved in four friendly matches in the build up to their qualification campaign. They will be good morale and confidence after managing to stay unbeaten during the period. A draw against Portuguese giants FC Porto was followed by wins with clean sheets against local sides Aves and Varzim and Spanish opposition Sporting Gijon.

Slavia Prague vs Rio Ave: Head-to-Head Statistics

  • This will be the first ever meeting between Slavia Prague and Rio Ave in a UEFA competition.

Slavia Prague vs Rio Ave: Head-to-Head Statistics

Slavia, after a number of disappointing seasons are looking for a taste of European Football. They were heavily involved in friendlies to prepare for the campaign and managed 4 wins and 2 draws from 9 matches, losing 3. They were also very busy in the transfer market signing at least 7 players to strengthen the squad. However, the 3-1 away loss to Levadia Tallinn in the first leg of Europa League second qualifying round must not be taken lightly.

These are new waters for Rio Ave, who are left with one Europa League apperance in their entire history. They are coming unbeaten in 4 matches during their warm-up campaign mainluy on the back of a strong defense. They are expected to give a tough test to the hosts on Thursday and I believe they will come out with something from this match.

A draw is the very likely outcome from this match, with Slavia Prague slight favourites to edge a win. I expect to see few goals from this match and will be going with under 2.5 goals at full time.

Slavia Prague vs Rio Ave: Tips

Double Chance: Slavia Prague/Draw
Under 2.5 goals.

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