Tallinn can thrill the fans on Champions League debut
Hibernians v Infonet Tallinn:
First qualifying round
Maltese champions Hibernians are the seeded team in this Champions League first qualifying round tie but they are the first to admit it’s the draw they wanted least of all.
Infonet are making their debut in the Champions League after bolting up in Estonia in 2016 and look quite capable of getting something out of their trip to the Mediterranean.
Tallinn certainly boast plenty of firepower and this looks like a tie with goals in it since part-timers Hibernians seem to prefer attack over defence.
In last season’s Europa League, both Infonet’s games against Hearts were exciting with the Scottish side winning 6-3 on aggregate. Both teams scored in games featuring over 2.5 goals and that looks a fair play for this match too.
Infonet have flown to Malta knowing their title defence is all but over after a mixed start to 2017.
They are, however, on a run of three straight wins and possess Estonia’s hottest goalscorer in Albert Prosa. Prosa has bagged 11 in his last six games and is going to represent a serious challenge for a Hibernians defence who could be without defender Martin Kreuzriegler. The Austrian, a new addition for this season, is carrying an injury.
The Peacocks won the Maltese Premier League by seven points in the spring and English boss Mark Miller’s men are also full of goals courtesy chiefly of Brazilian frontman Jorginho and rising starlet Jurgen Degabriele, who is only 20 and was the club’s top scorer in the league.
Both teams to score & over 2.5 goals
1pt 29-20 Coral
The New Saints v Europa FC:
First qualifying round
Craig Harrison, the man who masterminded The New Saints’ rise up the Welsh football league ladder, quit Park Hall just days after the end of last season, and that has cast a shadow over the club going into their Champions League qualifier with Gibraltarian side Europa FC.
Harrison left to take the reins at Hartlepool leaving Scott Ruscoe in interim charge of the team he left behind.
Ruscoe won’t be appointed on a full-time basis as he doesn’t have a Uefa Pro Licence so there’s an unsettled air at the club, though reports suggest they looked sharp enough holding a strong Rangers side to a 1-1 draw in a behind-closed-doors workout at the weekend.
Europa are unlikely to be mugs having deposed the Lincoln Red Imps as kings of Gibraltar and it looks like they’ve been spending some cash with a number of new signings, among them former Seville squad man Kike Carreno.
Once upon a time a draw against a Gibraltar side would have been chalked up as a banker, but this one looks tougher. TNS can nick an advantage though it may well be a low-scoring, tense affair.
Under 2.5 goals
1pt 13-10 bet365, Betfair