Preview: Dnipro-1 vs. AEK Larnaca – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday’s Europa League clash between Dnipro-1 and AEK Larnaca, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Dnipro-1 and AEK Larnaca go head to head at the Kosicka Futbalova Arena in the first of their two-legged Europa League qualifying playoff round clash on Thursday.

The Cyprus outfit head into the game on a run of six consecutive games without defeat across all competitions since May and will be looking to continue in the same vein.

Match preview

It is safe to say that there is a great deal of excitement brewing in the hearts of Dnipro-1 supporters as they get to watch the side attempt to secure an unprecedented place in an European competition.

Founded just three years ago following the liquidation of FC Dnipro, who went all the way to the final of the 2015 Europa League final before losing out to Sevilla, the Ukrainian side head into Thursday as the most inexperienced side in the qualifiers.

Due to the ongoing crisis in the country, Oleksandr Kucher‘s men have not played competitive games in over 250 days, dating back to a 3-0 win over Mariupol in the Premier League on the 10th of December 2021.

Dnipro-1 have since been involved in four friendly matchups, claiming just one victory in that time, which came on February 18, when they saw off Tobol Kostanay 1-0 courtesy of Artem Dovbyk‘s 38th-minute strike.

The Dnipro-based outfit head into Thursday on a run of seven victories from their last seven competitive games across all competitions and will be looking to pick up where they dropped off in December and grab an early advantage in the race for a place in Europe League group stages.

Meanwhile, AEK Larnaca were made to work their socks off in the third round of the qualifiers as they secured a hard-fought 4-3 aggregate victory over Serbian heavyweight Partizan.

Having claimed a 2-1 first-leg win in Cyprus on August 4, they traveled to Partizan Stadium last Thursday, where they came back from behind twice to hold out for a 2-2 draw and seal their place in the playoff round.

Prior to that, AEK enjoyed a fine pre-season campaign, where they picked up two draws and one win from their three friendly games before crashing out of the Champions League qualifiers as they were beaten on penalties by Midtjylland following a 2-2 aggregate draw. .

Jose Luis Oltra‘s side head into Thursday on a run of four draws and two wins from their most recent six games on the road across all competitions and will be looking to keep the juggernaut rolling.

Dnipro-1 form (all competitions):

AEK Larnaca Europa League form:

AEK Larnaca form (all competitions):

Team News

Dnipro-1 recently completed the signing of Voloz left-back Emiliano Puritaand the Argentine international, who made 20 appearances in the Greek Super League last term, could be handed his debut on Thursday.

Fellow countryman Domingo Blanco is also in line for his first appearance for the Ukrainian club following his move from Argentine outfit Independiente.

AEK Larnaca will take to the pitch without the services of 23-year-old Andreas Paraskevaswho has been sidelined through a cruciate ligament injury.

With his strike against Partizan last time out, Seed now has two goal involvements in his last three games and the French forward should retain his role in the Cyprus outfit’s attack.

Nigerian striker Victor Olatunji should be recalled to the starting side, potentially replacing the 31-year-old Rafael Lopeswho is currently struggling to find his goalscoring boots.

Dnipro-1 possible starting lineup:
Walef; Busanello, Loginov, Svatok, Adamyuk; Babenko, Beliaiev, Blanco; Kogut, Dovbyk, Gromov

AEK Larnaca possible starting lineup:
Piric; Rosales, Milicevic, Tomovic, Garcia; Oier, Ledes; Faraj, Trickovski, Gyurcso; Olatunji

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We say: Dnipro-1 1-2 AEK Larnaca

Considering the gulf in quality and experience between the sides, AEK Larnaca head into Thursday as clear favorites to come out on top. While we expect Dnipro-1 to put up a fight in a bid to claim a headline-grabbing victory, we are backing the Cyprus outfit to claim a first-leg win.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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