Aberdeen take a narrow lead to Cyprus to face Apollon Limassol in the second leg of the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round. The first leg of this tie last week was full of drama. On top of the three goals scored, there were also two red cards shown, one to an Apollon player and one to their manager.
Aberdeen gave their home fans something to cheer early on, when Ryan Christie put them 1-0 up after just five minutes. The Scottish side continued to attack and could have scored at least one more before Brazilian full-back Jander Ribeiro Santana equalised just before the hour mark. As the Cypriot side celebrated, the referee showed their boss Sofronis Avgousti a red card and sent him to the stands.
Apparently, he celebrated in a way which could have provoked the home team and then went on to the pitch. Twelve minutes later, there was a second red card of the match when Esteban Sachetti was sent off for a second bookable offence. It then took Aberdeen just seven minutes to take advantage of the extra man, when Graeme Shinnie netted in the top corner with a magnificent 25-yard swerving effort. That goal was enough to give the Scottish team a slender lead heading into the second leg.
Apollon Limassol Recent Form
Apollon didn’t have the greatest pre-season, winning just one of four friendlies, but they found form in the previous round of this competition. A 3-0 home victory in the first leg against Moldovan side Zaria Balti put them in a commanding position and they made sure of advancing with a 2-1 away win in the second leg.
They have reached the group stages in this competition twice in the past four seasons, and have the luxury of an away goal which could prove to be vital. However, they will have to make it through without their manager to guide them after UEFA confirmed he will be banned from the dugout for this game.
Aberdeen Recent Form
Aberdeen are unbeaten in pre-season, with victories over St. Johnstone, Arbroath, and Brechin City. However, they did struggle in the first leg of the previous round of this competition. It was a frustrating match against Siroki Brijeg as they were held 1-1 at home. They performed much better in the second leg, picking up a 2-0 victory away to win 3-1 on aggregate.
That away victory shows they can get a result on their travel when it matters. A draw in this match would be enough to see them through to the next round, but they will want to build confidence with a convincing win.
Betting Odds and Predictions
Apollon Limassol are favourites to win this match, with Coral pricing them at 4/5. The draw is 11/5, and Aberdeen are at extremely tempting odds of 3/1. Apollon will be without their manager to give direction from the dugout and one of their star players is suspended, so they may wrongly be the favourites for this match. The Scottish side have already shown in the previous round that they can perform better away from home, so the 3/1 on them to win looks great value.
One of the best bets we have found for this match is Aberdeen or Draw in the Double Chance market, it’s priced at 4/5 and there’s an increased possibility of one of those outcomes after the red cards in the first leg. With Apollon having the away goal from the first leg, Aberdeen will be keen to net an early away goal of their own.
If they do find the net, the player most likely to score is Ryan Christie. He’s scored two in three games in this competition so far, and is priced at 14/5 to score anytime here. One player we recommend ignoring in the anytime scorer market is Adam Rooney. He may be priced at 5/2 to score in 90 minutes, which makes him the favourite to score out of the Aberdeen players, but he faces a late fitness test and may miss the match.
Top Betting Tip
We think that Apollon will struggle without their manager and one of their star players, so our top betting tip for this match is Aberdeen or Draw in the Double Chance market. Back this at odds of 4/5 with Coral.