MX23RW : Thursday, December 10 22:30:17| >> :600:100387:100387:
Nov 26, 2020 at 5.55pm UK at Stadion Bâlgarska Armija
CSKA SofiaCSKA Sofia
0-1
Young BoysYoung Boys

Sinclair (90+2')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Nsame (34')
Nsame (90+4')

Preview: CSKA Sofia vs. Young Boys - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Europa League clash between CSKA Sofia and Young Boys, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Goal-shy CSKA Sofia welcome Switzerland's Young Boys to the Bulgarian capital on Thursday night, knowing that they must break their barren spell in order to catch up with the boys from Berne.

Their Europa League Group A clash comes on the back of a three-goal win for the Swiss side in the reverse fixture, and sees the two clubs separated by just three points in the chase for the second qualifying spot behind group leaders Roma.


Match preview

Alan Pardew pictured in March 2018© Reuters

CSKA have recently been through something of a crisis. After a sixth league draw of the season against modest Arda Kardzhali last month, the army club sacked their coach Steman Belchev, who was only appointed in July.

Their prospects have improved since the subsequent appointment of Bosnian coach Bruno Akrapovic, as they currently sit third in the league standings with 21 points from 12 games. After returning 4 draws and a defeat from the previous five rounds, the capital club have since managed to seal back-to-back domestic wins.

Former Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew also joined CSKA this week as their director of football. The Englishman left Dutch side ADO Den Haag after his contract was cancelled in April and takes up his post with The Armymen having worked as a media pundit in recent months.

Trailing in the wake of dominant Ludogorets in recent years, Pardew's new club qualified for this stage by finishing runners-up last season in both the league and cup, losing on penalties to Lokomotiv Plovdiv in the final.

En route to this stage, they memorably ousted strong favourites Basel in a one-off tie in Switzerland to reach the group phase for the first time. The Reds' most recent venture onto Swiss turf did not work out quite so well however, as in the reverse of this Thursday night's fixture, they were humbled 3-0 by Young Boys, finding themselves three down before half-time.

The Sofia side failed to a register a single goal in the opening half of their Group A campaign - the only one of the 48 teams in this season's group stage to do so - even if they did manage a hard-fought goalless draw with Roma.

Not only that, but the early-season victory in Basel was only their second away win in seven European matches - failing to score in four of them - and that record has now been extended to a miserable two wins in ten at this level.

Young Boys' Christian Fassnacht celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates on October 3, 2019© Reuters

Thursday's opponents Young Boys enjoyed their own triumph over domestic rivals Basel at the weekend, as they rained in 28 shots on Heinz Lindner's goal in a 2-1 win. That Super League success sent them top on Saturday, as they seek a fourth successive Swiss title.

Promising Switzerland Under-21s striker Felix Mambimbi bagged a brace in the previous CSKA encounter – his first goals in UEFA club competition – and another from experienced European campaigner Miralem Sulejmani, once Ajax's record signing, helped put Young Boys level with CFR Cluj on four points - three more than CSKA but three behind group leaders Roma.

Though a difficult proposition for any side when at home, Gerardo Seoane's side have won just one of their last 23 European away games - losing 14. Their record on the road in the Europa League proper reads W2 D8 L11, with their last win coming in the 2014-15 campaign when they defeated Slovan Bratislava. Young Boys' away record since then is a dismal drawn seven, lost four.

Prolific Cameroon forward Jean-Pierre Nsame will again provide YB's chief threat as they attempt to improve those statistics on Thursday, with the realistic aim of returning home from Sofia with maximum points.

CSKA Sofia Europa League form: LDL
CSKA Sofia form (all competitions): DDWLWW

Young Boys Europa League form: LDW
Young Boys form (all competitions): LWDWDW


Team News

Jerome Sinclair in action for Watford in the FA Cup on January 7, 2017© Reuters

Both Watford forwards - on loan at CSKA for the season - Jerome Sinclair and Adalberto Penaranda should start in support of their central striker Ali Sowe, though Brazilian winger Henrique and Irishman Graham Carey - a Celtic youth product - are also in contention.

Portuguese midfielder Tiago Rodrigues, once of FC Porto, will again man the engine room, though it is uncertain if their familiar 4-2-3-1 will be employed or a more offensive 4-3-3, with potential elimination looming.

Young Boys goalkeeper Guillaume Faivre is unavailable, so David von Ballmoos continues between the posts for the visitors, while longer-term absentees Marvin Spielmann and Luxembourg midfielder Christopher Martins Pereira also remain sidelined.

Given his impact in the reverse fixture, young striker Felix Mambimbi is to be afforded another start alongside goal-machine Jean-Pierre Nsame, while Miralem Sulejmani can cut in from the left of a 4-4-2 in support of the front pair.

CSKA Sofia possible starting lineup:
Busatto; Mazikou, Mattheij, Antov, Vion; Sankhare, Youga; Penaranda, Yomov, Sinclair; Sowe

Young Boys possible starting lineup:
Von Ballmoos; Hefti, Camara, Lustenberger, Lefort; Fassnacht, Sierro, Aebischer, Sulejmani; Nsame, Mambimbi


SM words green background

We say: CSKA Sofia 1-1 Young Boys

Though CSKA can finally break their Group A goalscoring duck this time, there should be no doubt that Young Boys are the favourites in this tie.

A draw at the Stadion Balgarska Armia could send the quest for qualification down to the wire though, so expect the hosts to scrap out another point to keep them in with an outside shot of progress.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Away:data


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