Utrecht vs Zenit St Petersburg
2017/18 UEFA Europa League Play-off
Date: Wednesday, 16th August 2017
Kick-off at 17:00 UK/ 18:00 CET
Stadion Galgenwaard (Utrecht).
The Dutch side FC Utrecht are keen to return to Europa League group stage after a four year absence. But standing in their way is a vastly experienced Russian club Zenit St. Petersburg.
Utrecht reached the play-offs at the expense of Polish side Lech Poznan. They prevailed on away goal rule after earning a 2-2 draw in the second leg in Poland. The first leg at their home was a goal-less draw.
The Dutch team started their domestic campaign on the weekend with a convincing 3-0 away win at Den Haag.
Zenit St Petersburg, reached the first knockout round of the Europa League last season and were eventually knocked out by Anderlecht. They had automatically qualified for the main tournament last term, but this season they are made to do it via qualifiers after a poor 2016/17 season in the Premier League.
The Russians defeated Ben Yehuda from Israel by a 2-1 aggregate in the third round. It wasn’t very convincing as the Israeli outfit gave them a big scare by winning 1-0 in the second leg in Petersburg.
Back in the Russian Premier League, Zenit Petersburg made an encouraging start. They are unbeaten in 6 games with 5 wins and a draw.
Utrecht vs Zenit St Petersburg: Head-to-head
This is the first h2h meeting between the two sides.
Utrecht vs Zenit St Petersburg: Prediction
The home loss to a lowly Ben Yehuda will serve as a wake up call for Zenit as they are expected to be very alert against a much stronger side like Utrecht. The Russians are much stronger than their Dutch opponents, both in experience and in negotiating through knockout ties.
Therefore, expect nothing less than a solid win for the visitors on Wednesday evening.