English Premier League club Everton came into this 2017/18 UEFA Europa League tie as heavy favourites. However, having won the first leg 1-0 at home, the Toffees have a tough match ahead of them in the second leg against Ruzomberok. The Slovakian team recorded their first European qualification in 2001/02 by qualifying for the Europa League. This season is only the fourth time they have competed in European football and the third round is the best they have achieved. Everton won the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1984/85 but have struggled in European competition in recent years. In 2015/16, they reached the last 16 only to lose 5-2 to Dynamo Kiev in the Ukraine.
The Slovakian domestic season is 2 games old and Ruzomberok have 1 win and 1 defeat to their name. Having lost the first leg of this tie 1-0 last week, Ruzomberok bounced back well to defeat Senica 4-0 at home in the Super Liga. This win will give them plenty of confidence ahead of the second leg against Everton.
In their 5 Europa League home matches, Ruzomberok have picked up 3 wins and 2 defeats. Both defeats were 1-0 but overall, Ruzomberok have a decent defensive record at home in the Europa League, conceding 3 goals in 5 games.
The Premier League does not start for well over a week, so the first leg of this tie was Everton’s first competitive match of the season. In truth, the Toffees looked a little rusty at times and could easily have conceded an away goal in a match which had a pre-season feel to it at Goodison Park.
Everton have a good record in the Europa League and have lost just 2 of their previous 11 games in the competition. Their most recent defeat was the awful 5-2 loss in the Ukraine two years ago. Away from home in the Europa League Everton have won 2 of their last 6 games, with 2 defeats and 2 draws. In 4 of the last 6 away games, the result would have been good enough to send them through as winners of this tie.
Yannick Bolasie, Ramiro Funes Mori, and Seamus Coleman are all injured for Everton and did not feature in the first leg. Ross Barkley’s future at the club remains in doubt so he is highly unlikely to play. New signings Jordan Pickford and Sandro will hope to start. Ruzomberok gave a good account of themselves in the first leg. Milos Lacny will be hoping to make amends for a glorious missed chance towards the end of the game by scoring in this one. Ruzomberok have no injury or suspension concerns.
Top Betting Tips
This has the makings of a difficult game for Everton, who should be overwhelming favourites. They are priced at 1/3 with Ladbrokes to win the game but it will not be easy. The good news for Everton comes in the way of their clean sheet in the first leg. A single goal in this game could be enough to see them through, even if they fail to win the match. A draw and both teams to score is 11/2 at Ladbrokes.
Everton are still working their way to full fitness this season and this should give Ruzomberok a slight advantage. However, Everton have the quality and should at least claim a 1-1 draw, which would be enough to see them through. The 1-1 correct score is 15/2 with Ladbrokes.