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Europa League | Playoffs | 2nd Leg
Aug 31, 2023 at 6pm UK
Tsirion Athlitiko Kentro
SB

Aris Limassol
6 - 2
Slovan Bratislava

Gomis (21', 45+7', 51'), Szoke (24'), Mayambela (66'), Brown (72')
Szoke (53')
FT(HT: 3-1)
Strelec (37'), Barseghyan (88')
Kankava (23'), Wimmer (45+1'), Tolic (54')

Preview: Aris Limassol vs. Slovan Bratislava - prediction, team news, lineups

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

Having come up short during an ill-tempered first leg, Aris Limassol seek to turn the tide in their favour when they welcome Slovan Bratislava to the Alphamega Stadium for the second part of their Europa League qualifying playoff tie on Thursday.

The Cypriot champions fell to a 2-1 loss at Tehelne pole last week, in a showdown were no fewer than 11 bookings were handed out by card-happy referee Willie Collum.


Match preview

Only making their debut in continental football last year - being swiftly seen off by Neftchi Baku in the Europa Conference League qualifiers - Aris Limassol earned their first shot at Champions League participation via their maiden Cypriot First Division title triumph in 2022-23.

Despite putting 11 goals past BATE Borisov over two legs in their inaugural Champions League qualifying encounter, Aleksey Shpilevski's men were stunted against Rakow Czestochowa, being dumped out of Europe's top tier 3-1 on aggregate and thus transferring to the preliminary rounds of the Europa League.

Pitting their wits against more seasoned European foes in Slovan Bratislava, Aris found themselves 2-0 down before the hour mark last week as Marko Tolic and David Strelec breached Shpilevski's backline, but Mihlali Mayambela did manage to reduce the arrears late on.

A one-goal deficit is far from insurmountable for the Cypriot champions, but even if the task proves too tall for them on Thursday night, they are already assured of a place in the Europa Conference League proper at the very least - marking the first time in the club's 92-year history that they will compete in the group stage of a continental tournament.

Unlike several other teams at the final qualifying hurdle, the Light Brigade did not enjoy the luxury of a weekend off from domestic duties, but Shpilevski's side received a major psychological boost thanks to a 2-1 beating of Doxa Katokopias, in a game where both teams went down to 10 men.

While Aris are novices when it comes to any format of European football, Slovan Bratislava have endured many a failed qualifying venture in the Champions League, being blown out of the water 5-2 by Maccabi Haifa in the third round of this year's edition.

Nevertheless, European group-stage football has not been too hard for the Slovakian powerhouses to come by in recent times, as they have competed in the Europa Conference League in each of the past two seasons and even reached the last 16 in 2022-23 before succumbing to Basel's penalty-shootout superiority.

Three-time Europa League participants in 2011-12, 2014-15 and 2019-20, Vladimir Weiss's side will have another shot at glory in Europe's secondary competition as long as they avoid defeat in Cyprus this week, although last week's fist-leg success was only their second victory from seven games in all tournaments.

Having both scored and conceded in each of their last six encounters, Slovan Bratislava must ensure that their attacking proficiency outweighs any defensive deficiencies at the Alphamega Stadium, lest they allow a resurgent Aris to consign them to a third successive year of Europa Conference League football.

Aris Limassol Europa League form:


Aris Limassol form (all competitions):
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W


Slovan Bratislava Europa League form:


Slovan Bratislava form (all competitions):



Team News

Aris centre-back Franz Brorsson endured surely one of his worst games in recent memory against Doxa, as he scored an own goal before being given his marching orders late on, but the Swede's suspension does not apply to continental games and he will be fine to marshal the backline here.

The hosts have no known injury concerns heading into the second leg, but Shavy Babicka was brought off in the first half of last week's defeat, before also being withdrawn at half time in Monday's victory.

Mayambela - the scorer of Aris' solitary goal in the first leg - replaced Babicka last time out and should have a strong case to demote the Gabonese winger to the bench here, while Yannick Gomis and Artem Shumanskiy both netted off the bench on Monday and are alternative options in the final third.

While this week's hosts picked up five bookings in the first leg, six of Slovan Bratislava's players were cautioned, but none of them incurred suspensions and they will form a part of an unchanged squad for Weiss this week.

The visiting coach may be tempted to switch to a more defensive setup with a one-goal lead to protect, but he should not deviate from the XI that got the job done last week, as 99-cap Slovakia midfielder Juraj Kucka mans the engine room once again.

Only 24-year-old striker Adler should be missing through injury, but he would have had little chance of displacing Strelec or Malik Abubakari at the tip of the attack either way.


Aris Limassol possible starting lineup:
Alves; Boakye, Yago, Moucketou-Moussounda, Caju; Mayambela, Struski, Brown, Bengtsson; Gomis, Stepinski

Slovan Bratislava possible starting lineup:
Borjan; Blackman, Bajric, Wimmer, Lovat; Kucka, Kankava, Tolic; Strelec, Abubakari, Marcelli


We say: Aris Limassol 1-1 Slovan Bratislava (Slovan Bratislava win 3-2 on aggregate)

On the balance of play, Slovan Bratislava just about deserved to edge last week's first leg, but Aris Limassol gave a good account of themselves and should be a tougher nut to crack in front of their own fans.

However, what Weiss's men lack at the back, they can normally make up for in attack, and a low-scoring stalemate would suit the visitors right down to the ground.


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


Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 2.5 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 2.5:data


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