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Jul 28, 2021 at 6pm UK
Sheriff TiraspolSheriff Tiraspol
AlashkertAlashkert FC
Dulanto (15'), Luvannor (23'), Thill (87' pen.)
Castaneda (67'), Cristiano (90+1')
FT(HT: 2-1)
Glisic (10')

Preview: Sheriff Tiraspol vs. Alashkert FC - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Sheriff Tiraspol vs. Alashkert FC - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Champions League clash between Sheriff Tiraspol and Alashkert FC, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Sheriff Tiraspol attempt to book a place in the next round of Champions League qualification on Wednesday, as they reconvene with Armenia's Alashkert FC at the Glavnaya Arena.

After a 1-0 first-leg win, the Moldovan champions are in pole position to set up a third round tie with either Red Star Belgrade or Kairat Almaty next month.

Match preview

As 19-times domestic title-winners, Sheriff are well accustomed to taking part in the opening phase of Europe's grandest club competition, but have won only 26 of their 73 previous Champions League matches and are yet to make it all the way to the prestigious autumn group games.

Though the club has appeared in four Europa League groups (in 2009-10, 2010-11, 2013-14 and 2017-18), it is qualification for the top-tier tournament that motivates Moldova's biggest club, so an away victory over Alashkert last week was warmly welcomed in the Transnistrian capital.

Just days after concluding a comfortable first round tie over Albania's KF Teuta, Brazil-born striker Henrique Luvannor - a former Moldovan international - gave Sheriff a marginal advantage heading into Wednesday night's decider, when he finally found the net with an 84th-minute strike at the Alashkert Stadium.

Now, head coach Yuriy Vernydub will expect his multinational squad to finish the job on home soil or face slipping back into the Europa League.

Despite failing to capitalise on home advantage in Yerevan, their opponents remain in contention to qualify, though - particularly given the recent removal of the much-debated away goals rule in UEFA competition.

Alashkert made it this far by virtue of an enthralling 3-2 aggregate win over Connah's Quay Nomads earlier this month, when French midfielder Vincent Bezecourt's late goal broke Welsh hearts deep into extra time.

Such progress was all the more impressive given six weeks had passed since they wrapped up the Armenian title - their first since 2018 - but recently appointed head coach Aleksandr Grigoryan has since departed, just two months after stepping into the dugout.

Having never advanced past the second round of qualifying, Alashkert's only previous successes in the Champions League preliminaries came against Andorran minnows Santa Coloma on two separate occasions.

Even considering their managerial upheaval, the Armenian side have shown signs this summer that they can break new ground in that regard, with just 90 minutes - and perhaps 30 more - separating them from a potential glamour tie with Serbian giants Red Star next month.

Sheriff Tiraspol Champions League form:
  • W
  • W
  • W

Sheriff Tiraspol form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W

Alashkert FC Champions League form:
  • D
  • W
  • L

Team News

Though former Ukraine Under-21 international Andriy Bliznichenko is ruled out of the home side's midfield due to injury, Sheriff have few other concerns ahead of Wednesday's second leg.

Ghanaian midfielder Edmund Addo made his debut for the club in Armenia last week, filling a defensive midfield role in coach Yuriy Vernydub's favoured 3-1-4-2 formation. The 20-year-old prospect previously played in defence during his spell in Slovakian football, but is set to occupy the same spot again this time out.

Up front, last week's match-winner, Henrique Luvannor is set to be joined by Colombian forward Frank Castaneda, with Malian winger Adama Traore providing support from the flank.

Alashkert withdrew both David Khurtsidze - scorer of a double against Connah's Quay - and full-back James at the break in Tiraspol, so it remains to be seen whether Vincent Bezecourt will now be brought into the starting side after playing the whole second half.

Despite drawing a blank last week, Jose Embalo is expected to lead the line for the visitors once again.

Sheriff Tiraspol possible starting lineup:
Athanasidiadis; Cristiano, Arboleda, Julien; Addo; Traore, Thill, Kyabou, Dulanto; Castaneda, Luvannor

Alashkert FC possible starting lineup:
Yurchenko; Cameta, Voskanyan, Kadio, Boljevic, James; Khurtsidze, Hovsepyan, Grigoryan, Davidyan; Embalo

We say: Sheriff Tiraspol 2-0 Alashkert FC

Yet to concede in four matches this month, Sheriff are rock-solid at the back and can make that count in their favour on Wednesday night.

As they already hold a lead, the Moldovan champions are set to hit Alashkert on the break, as the away side go searching for an all-important equalising goal.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 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.Over 1.5:data

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