UEFA Champions League
Steaua Bucuresti - Sporting CP
23 August 2017, 20:45 CET
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FCSB vs Sporting CP Prediction, Preview, Lineups, H2H & Betting Tips

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After a surprising goalless game in Lisbon last week Sporting heads to Romanian capital Bucharest where FCSB will be keen to baffle initial expectations of the bookies. They were all expecting an easy home victory at Portuguese turf, possibly followed by a pleasing result one week later in Romania, however the main plot has been left for the second round that will take place at the Arena Națională in Bucharest.

H2H History: FCSB vs Sporting CP

Sporting held the ball more but was clueless in front of goal at its “Estádio José Alvalade” in Lisbon. That was the first and frustrating for the home side encounter, while one week later Jorge Jesus has a better idea what to expect from his opponent Nicolae Dica.

Steaua Bucuresti vs Sporting CP 23 August, 2017 Tip
Both Teams To Score - Yes
2.10 5/105.50

Meanwhile, history is definitely backing Romanians here. FCSB have yet to lose at home against Portuguese opponents and Sporting CP have lost all three of their previous visits in the Eastern European country. Moreover, Sporting have lost all of them without scoring – 2:0 vs FC Timisoara in 1990, 2:0 vs Dinamo Bucharest in 1991, 1:0 vs FC Vaslui in their most recent visit – in 2011.
On other hand FCSB have won only one of their previous seven games against clubs from Portugal. That happened in Bucharest, winning 2-1 over Rio Ave in the 2014/15 UEFA Europa League group stage. However, they are also unbeaten in three home games against Portuguese clubs – 1 win, 2 draws.

UEFA Champions League: FCSB vs Sporting CP 23.08.2017

One year ago FCSB pulled the short straw and had to face Manchester City in the Champions League playoffs (losing 0:6 on aggregate). Twelve months later “The Red and Blues” will hope to upset Sporting and Nicolae Dica’s men will have to score in the second leg if they want to proceed. Well, another goalless draw can do the work as well but this will take the game into extra time/penalties, which is not the most demanded scenario to any team. In previous round FCSB eliminated Viktoria Plzen in a pretty convincing way (6:3 on aggregate – 2:2 at home, 1:4 in the Czech Republic), which shows that Romanians can score.
On the other side we have “Lions” from Lisbon who have shown teeth only once in their last 8 Champions League fixtures. That happened in a home match against Legia Warsaw in last season’s group stage but later on Sporting lost in Poland and finished last in the group. Thus Sporting have been generally eliminated from European competitions and being eliminated from current Champions League qualifiers will be another massive blow. In fact Sporting CP’s last Champions League away win was nearly 10 years ago – back in 2008, when they won 0:1 in Basel. It has been followed by three draws and seven defeats in period 2009-2016.

Match Preview: Team News, Squads and Missing Players

FCSB are attempting to reach the group phase for the eighth time, and the first since 2013/14. They have made some good signings in the past few weeks but Nicolae Dica can use them in the group stage, if FCSB makes a breakthrough. Besides ineligibility of Artur Jorge, Romario Benzar, Dragos Nedelcu, Florinel Coman, Nicolae Dica won’t be able to use his key midfielder and vice-captain Mihai Pintilii, who has been sent off in the first leg. Thus Vlad Achim and Lucian Filip compete for a position next to Ovidiu Popescu in midfield.
Attacking midfielder Constantin Budescu entered as a substitution during last weekend’s 2:1 win over Juventus Bucharest, but it’s too early for him to be included in the starting lineup. Most likely Budescu will remain on the bench and we expect attacking formation used last week in Lisbon.
Sporting are aiming to reach the group stage for the third time in four years but they have lost both their previous Champions League playoffs – against Fiorentina and CSKA Moscow, respectively in 2009 and 2015. This time experienced Jorge Jesus realizes that a scoring draw will be on his side and we expect a relatively cautious approach by the Green and Whites.
Midfielder William Carvalho remains injured but his name is related with a potential Premier League move anyway. So Jorge Jesus might be tempted to use same 4-4-1-1 formation used in weekend’s 0:5 win over Vitoria in Guimarães. Bas Dost and attacking midfielder Bruno Fernandes have both scored a brace in that match, while captain Adrien Silva netted the fifth. A good reason to believe Jesus can repeat the same approach with Fernandes as an attacking midfielder and Dost on top of SCP’s attack.

FCSB vs Sporting CP Prediction and Betting Tips

We expect at least a goal scored by both sides on Wednesday night. Our betting prediction goes on “Both teams to score – Yes“.

Possible Lineups of FCSB and Sporting CP

Venue: “Arena Națională”, Bucharest.

Referee: Cüneyt Cakir from Turkey.

FCSB: Florin Nita – Junior Morais, Marko Momcilovic, Ionut Larie, Gabriel Enache – Ovidiu Popescu, Vlad Achim – Florin Tanase, Filipe Teixeira, Catalin Golofca – Denis Alibec. (4-2-3-1)

Sporting CP: Rui Patrício – Fabio Coentrao, Jeremy Mathieu, Sebastian Coates, Cristiano Piccini – Marcos Acuña, Rodrigo Battaglia, Adrien Silva, Gelson Martins – Bruno Fernandes – Bas Dost. (4-4-1-1)

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August 22, 2017 | Last Updated: August 24, 2017