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Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

Spartak Moscow can put past European failures behind them

Fenerbahce could bite back against Benfica

Spartak Moscow's Luiz Adriano
1 of 1

Third qualifying round second legs
From 5.30pm Tuesday

Spartak Moscow have a poor recent record in Europe but they can take a big step towards the Champions League group stage with a comfortable victory over Paok Salonika.

The Russians surrendered a two-goal lead in the first leg to lose 3-2 in Greece but could have salvaged a draw had Quincy Promes not missed a second-half penalty. They lost just three matches at home last term in a division ranked nine places higher than the Greek top flight by Uefa.

Paok made it to the Europa League semi-finals as recently as the 2015-16 campaign but have never made the group stage of the Champions League.

Their absence from Europe’s elite competition could be extended by a Spartak outfit who have taken seven points from their first three league outings of the season.

Benfica take a 1-0 advantage into the second leg of their qualifying tie with Fenerbahce but are unlikely to have it all their own way in Istanbul.

The Portuguese side won the first leg courtesy of a deflected shot and looked defensively vulnerable in their league win over Vitoria on Friday when they conceded two late goals and allowed their opposition nine shots in the game.

That could be pounced upon by Fenerbahce, who have lost just one of their previous nine European home matches, keeping five clean sheets in the process, and will have the advantage of an intimidating atmosphere at the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium behind them.

Salzburg were rampant in their 3-0 defeat of Shkendija in the first leg of their qualifier and could be equally as ruthless in the away leg.

The Austrians netted 81 goals and won 25 of their 36 games in the league last season and are clearly a cut above their Macedonian counterparts.

Shkendija have been largely uninspiring in qualifying this term, losing 4-0 away to The New Saints in the first qualifying round before edging past Sheriff Tiraspol 1-0 on aggregate in their previous tie.

They have never qualified for a major European competition and could be on the end of another heavy defeat when Salzburg come to town.

Recommendations
Spartak Moscow -1 goal on handicap
1pt 12-5 Betfair
Fenerbahce
1pt 9-5 Hills
Salzburg to win to nil
2pts 6-5 general


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Salzburg were rampant in their 3-0 defeat of Shkendija in the first leg of their qualifier
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