Ilves will host SJK on Friday, July 16, in their first meeting since June, when SJK won 1-0. Having already won this bout just over two weeks back, SJK should feel confident in their chances to emulate that success tonight; however, they have not beaten Ilves at Tammelan Stadion once since 2013.
Ilves vs SJK
When: Friday, July 16 – 18:30 EEST
Where: Tammelan Stadion in Tampere, Finland
Weather: Sunny, 24°C
Referee: Mattias Gestranius (FIN)
The Finland Veikkausliiga is now at its mid-point. Both Ilves and SJK have played 11 games so far, with another 11 left to go before the regular season ends. Ahead of the 12th round, these two teams have 17 points each, which they got by winning five, drawing two, and losing four matches.
SJK have a better goal difference than Ilves, which is the reason why they’re currently one spot higher in the standings. They are in the #5 position, while Ilves are in the #6, the last available slot for the Veikkausliiga Championship Group.
It’s needless to say that qualifying for the Championship Group is the objective of both teams. However, the job is far from done, as a few other teams trailing behind them have the same plan. What this means is that every game matters, but especially the one happening this evening. The loser of the Ilves vs SJK game could end up dropping out of the top six.
Ilves Relying on Home Form
Ilves are one of the best home teams in the Finnish domestic league. Even though they lost their first home game of the season, Ilves won the next four matches played at the Tammelan Stadion. They beat KuPS, KTP, Inter Turku, and Haka, scoring seven goals along the way while conceding only three.
What’s more, the Lynx also sport an excellent head-to-head record against SJK at home. If we look back, SKJ haven’t won a single game in Ilves’ home stadium since 2013, when SKJ secured a 3-1 victory, while the two teams were still competing in Ykkonen.
In their last outing, which happened last month at OmaSp Stadion, SJK won 1-0. With that win, SJK extended their head-to-head record to 2-0 on the year, following a 3-0 win in Suomen Cup in February.
Although Ilves came out short last time out, the fixture could have easily ended either way. The teams were equally matched until SJK’s defender Cristian Valencia scored the winner in 78′.
SJK – 4th Best Away Team in Finland
SJK hold a 3-0-2 record on the road this season, ranking them the fourth-best travellers in the league. In comparison, the away record of Ilves is just 1-2-3.
However, this doesn’t make SJK a favourite ahead of the trip to Tampere. The thing is that all of their away wins happened against relatively weak opponents.
In their first game on the road, SJK beat AC Oulu (2-0), who are now 1-1-9 on the season and sit firmly at the bottom of the table. In their second road win of the season, SJK beat another bottom-six team in Honka with 1-0 and added a 3-0 victory against ninth-placed team Mariehamn just over two weeks back.
Even though SJK won three of their five away games, they haven’t played a single match against a top-six team. That, however, is about to change tonight.
Ilves vs SJK Betting Picks
If their last meeting is any indication, this clash is bound to be a close one. SJK won that bout; however, a draw would be a fairer result since there wasn’t much to set the two teams apart.
SJK can count themselves lucky for securing all three points that day, but it’s unlikely that they’ll achieve the same success today. Ilves have been solid at home, whereas we need to take SJK’s away record with a grain of salt.
Prediction: Ilves +0.00 Asian Handicap – 1.88 SBO
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