Legia Warsaw face an uphill struggle in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League qualifier against FC Astana, after the Kazakh side won the first leg 3-1. However, the Polish side are not dead and buried yet having netted what could be a vital away goal.
UEFA Champions League – Third Qualifying Round (2nd Leg)Wednesday 2nd August – 19:45 UK Time
Best Odd of: 8/11 at William Hill
Best Odd of: 5/5 at William Hill
Best Odd of: 4/1 at William Hill
The Polish league champions having had the best of starts to their domestic campaign. Defeat in the Polish Super Cup, to Arka via a penalty shoot-out, was followed by a 3-1 defeat away to newly promoted Gornik Zabrze in their opening league game. They then drew 1-1 with Korona.
Legia picked up their first domestic win of the season in their most recent match at home to Sandecja, who played almost seventy minutes with only ten men.
In this competition, they got through to this stage with a 9-0 aggregate victory over Finnish side Mariehamn.
Last season, they made it through to the group stages and finished third behind Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid. Moving to the Europa League, they suffered a narrow 1-0 aggregate defeat to eventual finalists Ajax.
Kazakh champions FC Astana are over half-way through their domestic season, and the extra match fitness showed in the first leg.
They are on a nine-match unbeaten run in all competition, sit four points clear at the top of the Kazakhstan Premier League, and take a two-goal lead into this second leg. In the previous round of this competition, they came through 2-1 on aggregate against Latvian side Spartaks Jurmala.
With the advantage heading into this match, Astana will be hoping to go at least one round better than they did last season. In 2016/17, they were knocked out 2-1 on aggregate at this stage to Scottish champions Celtic.
Betting Odds and Predictions
This is a tough match to call and we are a little surprised at the available betting odds. William Hill have Legia Warsaw priced as an 8/11 favourite, with FC Astana at 4/1, and the draw at 5/2.
After the first leg result and recent form, we expected odds closer than they are. An uninformed person would look at the odds and presume Legia Warsaw are a much better team. Well, they are not according to the statistics available and the bookies could be stung if Astana continue to play as well as they have been.
If you are going to back Legia Warsaw in this match, we recommend covering yourself against the draw by using the ‘Draw No Bet’ market. The Polish side are priced at 1/3 in this market but you will get your stake back if the match is drawn.
In our opinion, backing Astana or Draw in the ‘Double Chance’ market could prove to be profitable. It’s priced at 10/11 and is worth a punt with Legia Warsaw seemingly struggling for form recently.
It’s difficult to know how the two teams will approach this match. Most would imagine Legia will come out attacking, knowing they need at least two goals, whilst Astana will shut up shop as they try to defend their lead.
If it does happen like that, we predict a tough first half with the scores level at half time. The price for a draw at the break is 11/10.
Obviously, we are not psychic and it may happen completely differently. If an early goal is scored it will change the course of the game completely and could turn into a goal frenzy.
Regardless of who attacks and who defends, this is sure to be an intriguing game of football.
Top Betting Tip
The last time Astana failed to score in a match was at the end of May, and they will undoubtedly get chances in this match. FC Astana Over 0.5 Goals is our top tip for this match, priced at 4/9 with William Hill.