HomePredictionsFootballPreview: Qarabag vs HJK Helsinki – Prediction, Team News
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Preview: Qarabag vs HJK Helsinki – Prediction, Team News

Preview: Qarabag vs HJK Helsinki – Prediction, Team News

Qarabag host HJK Helsinki in the third round of UEFA Europa League qualifying. Having already been eliminated from Champions League qualification, Qarabag and HJK will both be determined to secure European football this season.

Preview (Qarabag vs HJK Helsinki)

By winning the Azerbaijan Premier League last season, Qarabag secured their spot in the Champions League qualifying round. They finished the season with 36 wins and just two losses, finishing first place in the standings nine points ahead. Despite the fact that they have also won nine of the previous 10, they have established an unchallengeable hegemony at home. But because they were defeated in the second round of Champions League qualification earlier this month, Gurban Gurbanov’s club will not have the opportunity to test themselves against Europe’s top teams this season.

In the opening round, they decisively defeated Lincoln Red Imps 6-1 on the road. In the second round, Qarabag lost 4-3 to the Polish team Rakow Czestochowa. As a result, they lost their spot in the Europa League qualifying round. Also noteworthy is the fact that Qarabag dropped their opening game of the 2023–24 Azerbaijan Premier League. They lost 1-0 to Zira on Thursday. On Thursday, the Blue and Whites will be hungry to record a victory. While Qarabag’s domestic season only just got underway last weekend, the reigning Finnish Veikkausliiga champions, HJK Helsinki, have already played 19 games in 2023 and are on track to defend their title.

HJK was unable to go to the third round of Champions League qualifying this year. In the opening round, Larne of Northern Ireland lost to the champions from Finland. They lost to Molde, a Norwegian team, 2-1 overall. The team of Toni Korkeakunnas has triumphed in four of their last five games overall. In their previous 13 games, they had just two losses. Last season, they underwent a Europa League voyage to never forget. In six group games, HJK lost five of them while only scoring twice. The Helsinki team will be eager to redeem itself this time.

Team News

Maksim Medvedev will join Rahil Mammadov, Badavi Huseynov, and Marko Vesovic in defense on Thursday. They are all out due to injuries, along with Abbas Huseynov and Marko Vesovic. Adama Diakhaby, a former forward for Huddersfield Town and Nottingham Forest, is anticipated to continue attacking alongside recent addition Hamidou Keyta at the other end of the field.

Santeri Hostikka, who scored a brace against Mariehamn, will want to continue his recent success for the visitors, and Roope Riski, who is back from injury, will try to score his first goal of the year. HJK’s current injury list includes goalkeeper Dejan Iliev (elbow), center-back pair Valtteri Moren (knee), and Oliver Pettersson (knee), and forward Riski (back in action). We anticipate Qarabag and HJK to play to a tense and cagey draw on Thursday, setting up a winner-takes-all matchup in Helsinki given that both teams will likely approach the first leg with care.

Qarabag 1 – 1 HJK Helsinki

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