UEFA Europa League

Preview: UEFA EL – Today’s matches

UEFA Europa LeagueBoth Metalurg and Renova continue with their European matches with matches today.

After successfully advancing from the first round, both Metalurg and Renova play their second qualification round of the UEFA Europa League.

At 17.30 CET in Kumanovo, Renova will host Belarusian side Gomel.  Renova had no problems with Libertas from San Marino and eliminated them with an aggregate score of 8:0.  However, the next obstacle is much stronger.  Gomel ended in third place last season in Belarus.  As for this season, Gomel is once again in third place with 7 points behind leaders BATE but with two games in hand.  Renova, back in 2009/10, had an opponent from Belarus in the Europa League where they were eliminated by Dinamo Minsk in a rather unlucky two-legged match.  Yesterday, Vardar proved that Macedonian teams should not fear teams from Belarus.  With a disciplined game, Renova could achieve a good result and give itself a chance in the return leg.  Today’s match will be officiated by Hubert Siejewicz of Poland.

After the narrow elimination of Birkirkara due to the away goals rule, Metalurg faces a more serious opponent in Ruch Chorzów, runners-ups of the Polish Ekstraklasa.  The match is scheduled to start at 19.00 CET at the Ruch Stadium in Chorzów.  Ruch is starting their European campaign after not having to play in the previous round.  Interestingly, Vardar played a friendly match against Ruch during the winter training camp in Antalya, Turkey back in February.  Vardar was convincing and won 3:0 although Ruch did test several new names in the match.  Metalurg should play an organized game to give itself a chance in the return leg at home.  The bookies consider Ruch a strong favorite, but Metalurg could benefit if their opponent underestimates the club.  The European competitions are in the early phases and those are good places to string surprised.  In fact, Metalurg was expected to win against Birkirkara at home but they only played a scoreless draw.  Now, with a bit of luck, Metalurg could return home with a positive result and attempt to advance into the third round.

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