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Red StarRed Star Belgrade
Katai (9', 42'), Diony (21'), Ivanic (49'), Falco (56')
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Hovhannisyan (82'), Alip (90+4')

Preview: Red Star Belgrade vs. Kairat - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Red Star Belgrade vs. Kairat - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Champions League clash between Red Star Belgrade and Kairat, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Seeking to overturn a 2-1 deficit from the first leg of their Champions League second qualifying round tie, Red Star Belgrade will host Kairat at the Rajko Mitic Stadium on Wednesday night.

The Serbs have reached the group stage of Europe's elite club competition in two of the last three seasons, while their Kazakhstani opponents are hoping to advance to the third round of qualifying for the first time.

Match preview

Competing in the Champions League qualifiers for the fourth successive year, Red Star Belgrade are now at risk of elimination before the third round after a surprise defeat in last week's first leg.

Jose Kante headed in the opening goal for Kairat after 24 minutes before Dino Mikanovic unintentionally deflected the ball into his own net to hand the Serbians a lifeline. However, the hosts bounced back and scored the winner 11 minutes from time when Macky Bagnack poked the ball home on the volley from close range.

Former Inter Milan midfielder Dejan Stankovic, who has been in charge of Red Star since December 2019, will be disappointed that his side are trailing the tie but content that they managed to score an away goal, which could be crucial heading into Wednesday's match.

Red Star had an incredible domestic campaign last season and broke a European league record by accumulating a staggering 108 points from a possible 114 available, winning 35 and drawing three of their 38 matches.

They also head into the second leg with a 48-game unbeaten run on home soil, therefore despite last week's defeat, the Serbians should be confident in overturning the one-goal deficit in midweek.

Like Red Star, Kairat also had a successful domestic campaign last season after winning their third Kazakhstani top-flight title and their first since 2004.

The Halyq Komandasy are now looking to finally qualify for a major European competition, having tried and failed on seven separate occasions in as many years.

After beating Red Star in the first leg last week, Kirill Keker's side were defeated for the second time in the group stages of the Kazakh Cup, losing 1-0 at home to Arys on Saturday. Kairat currently sit bottom of Group D, though they are level on points with second and third place, so progression to the knockout stages is still within reach.

Progression to the next round of Champions League qualification is also within touching distance, though they should likely expect a different Red Star outfit from last week, as they will be keen to make amends for their loss.

Kairat are the outsiders for Wednesday's clash but have proven that the can compete against stronger opposition, and they will be confident of securing at least a draw, which would be enough to see them advance to the third qualifying round.

Red Star Belgrade Champions League form:
  • L

Red Star Belgrade form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • L
  • W

Kairat Champions League form:
  • D
  • W
  • W

Kairat form (all competitions):
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L

Team News

Red Star Belgrade have no injury concerns heading into Wednesday's match and could name the same starting lineup from the first leg.

Defender Aleksandar Dragovic, who joined the club from Bayer Leverkusen this summer, is expected to start alongside Radovan Pankov, shielding goalkeeper and captain Milan Borjan, who kept 24 clean sheets across all competitions last season.

Star attacking midfielder Mirko Ivanic, who found the net 20 times in all competitions last year, is set to start in a central role alongside Sekou Sanogo and Nenad Krsticic, while Milan Pavkov is likely to feature up front.

As for Kairat, Bagnack, Jacek Goralski and Stas Pokatilov have all tested positive for coronavirus and will miss the second leg, with Danil Ustimenko set to replace the latter in goal.

Left-back Gafurzhan Suyumbayev, midfielder Nebojsa Kosovic and striker Joao Paulo are also ruled out due to injury.

Former CSKA Moscow and Brazil forward Vagner Love is expected to lead the line in attack once again, with Kante and Artur Shushenachev to provide support from the flanks.

Red Star Belgrade possible starting lineup:
Borjan; Gajic, Dragovic, Pankov, Rodic; Krsticic, Sanogo, Ivanic; Ben, Katai; Pavkov

Kairat possible starting lineup:
Pokatilov; Mikanovic, Dugalic, Alip, Keyler; Palyakow, Abiken, Hovhannisyan; Shushenachev, Vagner Love, Kante

We say: Red Star Belgrade 3-1 Kairat (4-3 on aggregate)

Red Star Belgrade will be keen to make amends for last week's surprise defeat and a win is required if they are to reach the next round.

Even though Kairat have a one-goal advantage, we feel that the hosts will come out fighting in the second leg and turn the tie around to win narrowly on aggregate.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com 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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