Last weeks goalless draw in Belgrade wasn’t too much of a surprise, despite the fact that CSKA Moscow headed into the game as the favourites. Red Star went into the 1st leg unbeaten in their last fourteen competitive matches, a run that is now up to sixteen games following the 0-0 draw against CSKA and the 3-0 win in the Super Liga over Javor Ivanjica. CSKA are still the favourites to progress through to the next round as they have the home advantage on Wednesday, but Red Star will be very pleased to have avoided conceding any away goals and know that they only need one goal of their own on Wednesday night and another strong defensive display to qualify in the ninety minutes.
Before the 1st leg these two clubs had never met before, despite both being regulars on the European stage. Red Star won the European Cup, as it was known then, during the 1990/91 season and finished as runners-up in the UEFA Cup in the Late 1970’s, while during the 2000’s CSKA reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League and were also runners-up in the Europa League. Many predicted a tight and tense first leg between the two clubs, even though CSKA had been competing in the Champions League this season, where they finished third behind Manchester United and Basel. The Russians were, and still are, the bookies pick to progress through to the next round of the Europa League, but Red Star somehow managed to stand firm in the 1st leg. CSKA dominated the ninety minutes in Belgrade, ending the match with 58% of the overall possession, as well as five shots on target to the hosts one, and nine corners to Red Star’s six.
However, Red Star maintained their unbeaten record and avoided any damaging away goals despite being outplayed for the entire match, and the visitors will head into Wednesday’s 2nd leg believing they can frustrate CSKA once more and do enough to qualify for the next round. A sixteen game unbeaten run would give any side immense confidence, but Belgrade also head into the game with four clean sheets in their last six matches. The hosts have also kept four clean sheets in their last six matches, all of which points to another tight and tense ninety minutes on Wednesday. Red Star have seen four of their last six away games end in draws, and after last weeks opening leg in Belgrade, it won’t be a surprise to many if we see another stalemate this time around as well.
Boakye top scores for Red Star in Europe this season with eight goals, but the Ghana striker was set to leave the Serbs on deadline day but saw his move to Bordeaux breakdown when he suffered a calf injury. That same injury kept Boakye out of the 1st leg and he’s likely to remain sidelined for a few more weeks, which leaves the visitors with a void to fill up front. Russian international midfielder Dzagoev has three goals in Europe this season and will provide a threat from the centre of the park and set pieces for the hosts.
We’re confident that this game is going to feature under 2.5 goals, as both teams have been keeping regular clean sheets of late and won’t make it easy for the opponent to score. Last weeks 1st leg showed us that CSKA will be the more willing side to attack, but that they also lack an out and out goalscorer this season. With all that in mind, we’re going with another goalless draw between the pair on Wednesday and a high chance of a penalty shootout.
Head To Head
These two clubs met for the very first time last week, and the pair could not be separated in Belgrade with the game ending goalless.
CSKA Moscow vs Red Star Belgrade Stats
- Red Star Belgrade are unbeaten in their last 16 competitive matches (Domestic and in Europe)
- Four of Red Star’s last six away games have ended in draws
- Red Star have kept four clean sheets in their last six competitive matches
- CSKA Moscow have kept four clean sheets in their last six competitive matches