Chikhura Sachkhere vs AberdeenUEFA Europa League, KO: 17:45 Jul 25, 2019, Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena
Aberdeen's European adventure continues on Thursday night in Tiblisi when they clash with Georgian outfit Chikhura Sachkhere.
The hosts had no option but to relocate to the capital for this clash which is an approximate 150 miles away from their Central Stadium home in order to satisfy UEFA requirements.
As such this Europa League qualifier will be played at the impressive 54,000 seated Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena – however it is feared that the national stadium will be near empty for this encounter – so much so that fans will reportedly be allowed enter the stadium free of charge.
Regardless of the venue issues surrounding this fixtures trips to Georgia are notoriously difficult to negotiate, however the bookies fancy the Dons to do just that with an away win favoured at 3/4 (Ladbrokes)
Chikhura's home advantage has been hampered and that can perhaps be attributed to the 4/1 (William Hill) on offer for a home win and the same could be said for the draw which is available at 13/5 (BetVictor)
Yet, the Erovnuli Liga side have now qualified for the Europa League for six consecutive seasons, however only once have they gone beyond this stage and on that solitary occasion penalty kicks were needed to progress to the third qualifying round.
Samosn Pruidze's side seen off Luxembourg's Fola Esch 4-2 on aggregate to set up this tie with Aberdeen who themselves recorded the same scoreline over two legs against Finland's RoPS in the first qualifying round.
The Dandies boast a proud a European history and Derek McInnes will be determined to add to that by leading his side past the third round of qualifiers for the first time since 2008.
However, the Dons boss has made it clear that he is reluctant to look that far ahead but he does believe that his sides victory in Finland last Thursday will stand them in good stead against the Georgians.
Sam Cosgrove has scored in both Europa League outings thus far and after scoring 21 goals in all competitions last season the Aberdeen forward could be worth backing to continue his fine form in Georgia.
The big Englishman is always a threat from open play and he is also the Dons designated penalty taker – both of which make Cosgrove a tempting option to score anytime at 23/20 (Ladbrokes)
Whether or not Cosgrove scores remains to be seen but many punters will be expecting goals in Georgia given the fact that both teams fixtures in the first round all seen over 2.5 goals scored and a repeat in Tiblisi is on offer at 13/10 (BetVictor).
However, the bookmakers are of the belief that Under 2.5 goals is more probable with that outcome as short as 6/10 (Willaim Hill)
Arguments can be made for both over and under 2.5 goals but with both respective backlines already demonstrating that they are far from watertight then I would be more inclined to opt for Both Teams to Score at 6/5 (Bet 365)
An away goal would be invaluable to Aberdeen but given the logistics of a trip to Eastern Europe, the warm Tiblisi temperatures and the the eerie playing environment that awaits then the short odds on offer for a away win are not enticing.
I do expect the Pittodrie side to prevail over two legs but the Georgians could prove difficult to break down during this awkward looking assignment meaning that the Dons may still have work to do in the North-East next week and as such Chikhura appeal on the Double Chance at 21/20 (William Hill)
This UEFA Europa League match between Chikhura Sachkhere and Aberdeen will be played on Jul 25, 2019 and kick off at 17:45