On Thursday evening, giants Anderlecht host Ludogorets Razgrad at Lotto Park for the Europa Conference League playoff’s second leg.
Igor Thiago’s first-half header helped Ludogorets win the first leg in Bulgaria last week. However, the tie is still very much up in the air because Anderlecht do not have to worry about the away goals rule when they host this week’s decider.
Bart Verbruggen, Anderlecht’s goalkeeper, gave up the first shot of the game against Ludogorets on Thursday. He had little else to do but pick the ball out of his own net.
After Anders Dreyer hit the post and Benito Raman missed a one-on-one for the visitors, Ludogorets didn’t make a single shot on goal in the second half, despite having a slight advantage.
Brian Riemer only made three changes to the Anderlecht team on Sunday against Kortrijk, struggling in the Belgian First Division. This gave Ludogorets a pass. However, Michael Murillo scored an 83rd-minute equalizer to salvage a 2-2 draw for the underperforming Belgian behemoths.
Anderlecht is currently languishing in ninth place in the Belgian top flight after losing two more points. This would be the team’s lowest finish in the league since 1937, when they finished 11th.
In their last ten home games in all competitions, Anderlecht has won just two, lost six, and failed to score in half of those games.
With his fifth goal of the season on Sunday, Murillo showed Anderlecht how important he is. Only one player in the current team has scored more goals than Murillo, but the right-back will miss the second leg because he got his fifth caution in the Conference League this season in Bulgaria.
Center back Hannes Delcroix may not be ready for Thursday’s European match because he is nearing the end of his recovery from a knee injury. Midfielder Marco Kana is also a questioned because of a problem with his toe.
Olivier Verdon will continue to be out of action for Ludogorets as the regular first-team player serves the second of a three-game European competition ban following his red card against Roma in the club’s most recent continental away match.
In the first leg, Angolan international Manuel Cafumana was sent to the stands after receiving his fifth yellow card of the season against Anderlecht in European football. This sent the disorganized midfielder to the bench.
Simundza, on the other hand, will be able to call on his captain Anton Nedyalkov and the Polish midfielder Jakub Piotrowski once more because both players were suspended during the first leg.
Rick, an influential winger for Ludogorets, and Dinis Almeida, a less decisive but equally absent center back, are both out with torn knee ligaments.
We are backing Anderlecht to score two goals against what will almost certainly be a stubborn but susceptible low block from Ludogorets, despite the fact that goals have been difficult to come by for the Belgian team all season and their potency has not been helped by the departure of top scorer Fabio Silva in January.
Prediction: Anderlecht 2-0 Ludogorets Razgrad
Ludogorets Razgrad may struggle to score against this RSC Anderlecht team, who we think should be able to score in a win.
Since defeating Hungarian side Ferencvaros in the Europa League in October 2019, several months before the coronavirus pandemic began, the Bulgarian juggernaut has not won an away game in European competition outside of the qualifying rounds.
• RSC Anderlecht has not lost in four games in a row.
• PFC Ludogorets 1945 Razgrad have not lost in six games in a row.
• PFC Ludogorets 1945 Razgrad has won five consecutive away games.
• The first leg’s outcome: RSC Anderlecht defeated PFC Ludogorets 1945 Razgrad 1-0.
• In their last six games, PFC Ludogorets 1945 Razgrad have given up at least one goal.
• For eight matches in a row, PFC Ludogorets 1945 Razgrad have scored at least one goal.
• RSC Anderlecht wins the first half in 33% of games, while PFC Ludogorets 1945 Razgrad wins the first half in 45% of games.
• PFC Ludogorets 1945 Razgrad wins 45% of halftimes, while RSC Anderlecht wins 33%.
• RSC Anderlecht wins 81% of their home games when they lead 1-0.
• PFC Ludogorets 1945 Razgrad wins 77% of their games when they lead 0-1 away.
• RSC Anderlecht wins 11% of their home games when they are down 0-1.
• PFC Ludogorets 1945 Razgrad wins 20% of their games when they are down 1-0 away.
• In the five matches they’ve played recently, RSC Anderlecht has performed better than PFC Ludogorets 1945 Razgrad.
Verbruggen; Sadiki, Debast, Vertonghen, Sardella; Arnstad, Diawara, Verschaeren; Dreyer, Raman, Stroeykens
Ludogorets Razgrad :
Padt; Witry, Russo, Plastun, Nedyalkov; Piotrowski, Naressi; Despodov, Nonato, Tekpetey; Thiago