Malmo v Lugano – Europa League Betting Preview and Prediction
Malmo and Lugano are set to clash at Swedbank Stadion on Thursday, October 24, where they compete in their third Europa League fixture of the group stage. Neither side has managed to produce a win so far, however, not all hope is lost, seeing how a win here would put one of the two teams in serious contention for a top-two finish. Suffice to say this is a must-win fixture for both teams, who will look to grab their first W of the season.
Malmo losing out on Allsvenskan title
Malmo, the most decorated Swedish team, should have by now come to peace with the fact they won’t be lifting their 24th Allsvenskan trophy this year, seeing how they lost against Hammarby (2:0) on Sunday, which more or less sealed the deal for Malmo and their dreams of winning the league. With only two more league fixtures ahead and three-point deficit behind Djurgarden, Malmo will need some sort of a miracle to catch up.. While their domestic dreams slowly come to a close, Europa League leaves Malmo with plenty of options, and it’s easy to imagine the Swedish outfit will put all their efforts to make a statement on the European stage.
As it stands now, Malmo are sitting tight at third with a 0-1-1 record and one point next to their name. Looking back at their Europa League campaign, Malmo lost the opening fixture against Dynamo Kiyv (1:0) and drew against their neighbors FC Copenhagen (1:1) in round two. With those results, Malmo are tied with Lugano in the standings and three points behind both Dynamo Kyiv and FC Copenhagen, which is by no means a lost cause. With the leading two teams taking a shot at each other on Thursday, a win here would mean Malmo would in the worst-case scenario tie with one of them as the second seed, meaning this will be a must-win fixture for the Sky Blues.
Looking back at Malmo’s fixture against FC Copenhagen, the Swedes arguably played much better, however, conceded an own goal in the stoppage time of the first half, which turned the whole fixture on its head. Malmo held 48% ball possession and shot the ball 4/9. The visitors on the other side held the ball for 52% of the time and shot 2/3. At this point, we have to mention Malmo completely dominated Copenhagen in the second half, with 54% ball possession, and 4/7 shooting. Their opponents on the other side, failed to produce a single goal attempt for the whole 45 minutes. It’s safe to say Malmo played better than night, however, it seems like it was just not meant to be as they walked away from Swedbank Stadion with only one point in hand.
Solid defence, non-existent attack
Lugano are entering round three of Europa League group stage with the same record as their opponents (0-1-1), which they earned with a 1:0 defeat against FC Copenhagen in round one and a stalemate (0:0) against Dynamo Kyiv in round two.
Looking back at their clash with the Ukrainian side, it’s still weird how we did not get to see a single goal on that night. Teams combined 34 goal attempts, but to no avail. Lugano finished the match with 37% ball possession, and 4/15 shooting, whereas Dynamo Kyiv shot the ball 3/19 with 63% ball possession. From what we saw from the Swiss side, they like to play defensively. In fact, we could even go on and say they play too defensively, seeing how Lugano failed to score more than once in their last nine fixtures across all competitions. Furthermore, the Swiss outfit combined only four goals in the last nine. At this point, it’s also worth noting Lugano failed to score a single goal in six out of their last nine fixtures. Not a very promising sight to see ahead of their visit to Malmo, to say the least. What makes the whole ordeal even worse is the fact that Lugano will arrive in Sweden with eight players missing.
Verdict & Prediction
It’s hard to be too positive about Lugano’s chances to win here. They have not shown much of anything in the last month, and the injuries, which side-lined eight of their players won’t help them either. This will be the first head-to-head match between Malmo and Lugano, but we can already see how it will go.
Not only are Malmo in better shape and playing at home, but Lugano are also a terrible away team with a huge chunk of their squad side-lined. Seeing how Lugano failed to impress on the offensive end, with three out of their last four away matches ending in no goals, we can’t imagine them breaking the spell and scoring here. Malmo on the other side scored at least once in nine out of their last 10 home games. Furthermore, they scored three or more in 5/10. There is not a lot going for Lugano here and we see this fixture as a match that is Malmo’s to lose. Expect the Swedes to claim their first three points in front of the home fans, who will demand solid results following Malmo’s disappointment in the domestic league.
Prediction: Malmo to win
Odds: 1.84 Matchbook