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Europa League | Group Stage
Oct 26, 2023 at 5.45pm UK
Tsirion Athlitiko Kentro

Aris Limassol
0 - 1

Bengtsson (28'), Gomis (55')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Perez (75')
Perez (60'), Guardado (90+3')

Preview: Aris Limassol vs. Real Betis - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Aris Limassol vs. Real Betis - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Thursday's Europa League clash between Aris Limassol and Real Betis, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

In a group with all four sides tied on three points from the opening two games, Aris Limassol and Real Betis will meet in an important Europa League contest in Cyprus on Thursday.

After both losing in the opening round of games, the hosts put up a first victory at home to Rangers last time out while their visitors got the better of Sparta Prague.

Match preview

After winning the Cypriot First Division title for the first time in their history last time around, Aris Limassol began only their second ever continental campaign in the second round of Champions League qualifying this season, and they would progress in style by thrashing BATE Borisov 11-5 on aggregate.

Their campaign to reach Europe's top competition would end in the third round, though, as the Light Brigade were beaten 3-1 across two legs by Rakow Czestochowa, before confirming their place in the Europa League group stage thanks to a 7-4 aggregate playoff win over Slovan Bratislava.

At the beginning of their first-ever group campaign in any of Europe's three continental competitions, Aleksey Shpilevsky's side travelled to the Czech capital to take on Sparta Prague and were narrowly beaten 3-2, having initially gone ahead through Aleksandr Kokorin, before they managed to score their first points at home to Rangers in their last Europa League outing.

Alex Moucketou-Moussounda put them ahead early in that contest and Shavy Babicka doubled the lead on the hour mark, before The Light Brigade stood strong to see out a 2-1 triumph and take all three points following Abdallah Sima's 70th-minute goal.

Now on the back of a pair of league victories, most recently beating Ethnikos Achna 2-0 thanks to goals from Jaden Montnor and Karol Struski, to remain within touching distance of top spot in the Cypriot First Division, Aris Limassol will turn their focus back to their continental campaign and look to make it back-to-back victories to put themselves in the top two in the tight group.

They meet a Real Betis side who are also hoping to build on a win in the second round of group games, having earned automatic entry into Europe's secondary competition at this stage thanks to their sixth-placed finish in La Liga last time around.

After progressing to the round of 16 in the Europa League in each of the previous two seasons, Los Verdiblancos set out to again prevail in their group this term and began with a trip to Glasgow to take on Rangers, but they would leave empty-handed following a 1-0 defeat as Abdallah Sima hit the only goal of the game in the 67th minute.

Aiming to quickly bounce back from that disappointing start, Manuel Pellegrini's side then welcomed Sparta Prague to Seville at the beginning of October and succeeded in putting their first points on the board, despite going behind inside three minutes, as Assane Diao quickly drew them level before Isco netted the winning goal 11 minutes from time.

Los Verdiblancos now head into their trip to Cyprus having extended their La Liga unbeaten run to five matches, albeit in slightly underwhelming fashion, having played out 1-1 draws with Alaves and Getafe in their last two outings while being pegged back on both occasions after going ahead through Willian Jose and Marc Roca respectively.

With those results leaving Real Betis ninth in Spain's top flight after 10 games, they will now turn their focus back to the Europa League group campaign with the aim of putting another three-point haul on the board to strengthen their claim for a round-of-16 place.

Aris Limassol Europa League form:

Aris Limassol form (all competitions):

Real Betis Europa League form:

Real Betis form (all competitions):

Team News

Aleksey Shpilevsky could deploy the same Aris Limassol starting XI that featured in the 2-1 victory over Rangers earlier this month in their preferred 4-2-3-1 shape, with Shavy Babicka bound to again lead the line having scored in each of their first two Europa League group games, after previously scoring once and providing three assists in four Champions League qualifying appearances.

He should again have support from Yannick Gomis, who leads their scoring charts with eight goals in 15 appearances in all competitions so far this term, with Jaden Montnor hoping to come in on the wing after Leo Bengtsson and Mihlali Mayambela were preferred against Rangers.

Elsewhere, Karol Struski and Julius Szoke will likely line up in the engine room, while Steeve Yago and Alex Moucketou-Moussounda should continue their centre-back partnership.

Real Betis will remain without defenders Marc Bartra and Youssouf Sabaly and key attacking midfielder Nabil Fekir, as they are sidelined by injuries, and we should see a similar starting XI to the one that featured against Getafe on Saturday, although midfielder Guido Rodriguez and attacker Willian Jose will both return to contention after serving suspensions in that match.

Rodriguez will likely return to the midfield alongside Marc Roca, although William Carvalho is also pushing to start in the engine room in their 4-2-3-1 setup, while Barcelona loanee Chadi Riad should again join German Pezzella in the middle of the defence in Bartra's absence.

Luiz Henrique has also returned to contention recently after an injury layoff, and he will fight for a starting spot on the wing, as will Ayoze Perez and Abde Ezzalzouli should Pellegrini opt to rotate, after Rodri and Assane Diao were preferred at the weekend, with Willian Jose expected to get the nod to lead the line over Borja Iglesias, who is still yet to score across all competitions this season.

Aris Limassol possible starting lineup:
Vana; Boakye, Yago, Moucketou-Moussounda, Urosevic; Struski, Szoke; Bengtsson, Gomis, Mayambela; Babicka

Real Betis possible starting lineup:
Bravo; Bellerin, Pezzella, Riad, Miranda; Roca, Rodriguez; Abde, Isco, Diao; Jose

We say: Aris Limassol 1-2 Real Betis

While they were left disappointed by the defeat in their curtain-raiser against Rangers, who Thursday's hosts then got the better of, Real Betis do have the quality to dominate this group, and we fancy them to make it back-to-back wins in Cyprus.

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

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 3.5 goals 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.Under 3.5:data

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