Larne vs HJK HelsinkiUEFA Champions League, KO: 19:30 Jul 19, 2023, Solitude
HJK Helsinki will be looking to do the double over Larne as they travel to Northern Ireland for their UEFA Champions League first qualifying round second leg. Helsinki will be counting on their experience at this stage of European competition and should have the edge over their rivals once again.
Larne will count themselves lucky not to have a steep deficit to overturn after being outplayed in the 1-0 defeat in the first leg. Tiernan Lynch’s men were on the back foot for much of the encounter but were aided by some poor finishing by Helsinki.
Things have not been particularly smooth for Larne in recent weeks as that result means they have now lost two of their last three matches. One similarity across the defeats is a troubling lack of cutting edge in attack as the Northern Irish side failed to find the net in both matches.
Larne will be counting on home support as they are unbeaten in five of their last six matches in front of their fans. However, Wednesday’s second leg will not be played at their regular home ground as Inver Park was rejected by UEFA due to its synthetic pitch.
HJK Helsinki will be disappointed not to have a bigger advantage after only claiming a 1-0 victory from the first leg. They struck early in the first half through Bojan Radulovic’s penalty but ultimately failed to truly capitalise on their dominance.
The 32-time Veikkausliiga champions may not have the desired advantage but will be counting on their vast experience in European competition. Toni Koskela’s men have reached the group stage of the Europa and Conference League in the last two seasons.
Although Helsinki will be feeling confident ahead of Wednesday’s clash, they have been far from their best in recent weeks with just three wins in their last six matches across all competitions. The major problem is a lack of discipline at the back, particularly on their travels having kept just one clean sheet in their last seven away matches.
Head to head
HJK Helsinki have the upper hand among the bookies and are priced at 5/4 by Unibet to claim the win. Larne are considered outsiders at home at 13/5 with BoyleSports while a draw is set at odds of 11/5 with bet365.
Head to head
Last week’s clash was the first ever meeting between Larne and HJK Helsinki.
Players to watch
Although Larne struggled to create many clear-cut opportunities in the first leg, they will be keen to capitalise on Helsinki's defensive problems on the road. Paul O’Neil and Lee Bonis have a solid understanding in attack and can ensure the Northern Irish side produce over 0.5 goals at 8/15 with BetVictor.
Bojan Radulovic already has 10 league goals for HJK Helsinki this season and will be the one to watch on Wednesday. The striker often has support from Santeri Hostikka and both men can lead the visitors to over 1.5 goals at 8/15 with BoyleSports.
Anything else catch the eye?
Larne and Helsinki are not particularly convincing at the back and both teams can be backed to score at 11/10 with Paddy Power. With the visitors expected to win but conceded, over 2.5 goals can also be considered at 7/5 with Unibet.
Having opened the scoring last time out, Helsinki can be backed to grab the first goal once again at 5/6 with BoyleSports.
This UEFA Champions League match between Larne and HJK Helsinki will be played on Jul 19, 2023 and kick off at 19:30. Check below for our tipsters best Larne vs HJK Helsinki prediction. You may also visit our dedicated betting previews section for the most up to date previews.