Betting preview: Metalist Kharkiv can turn things around against Sporting Lisbon

Carlos Freitas' side come into this tie with a narrow advantage after last week's first-leg triumph, but Willie Duncan expects Myron Markevych's men to progress to the semi-finals
Metalist Kharkiv and Sporting Lisbon will do battle again on Thursday night with a place in the Europa League semi-finals at stake and the tie is firmly in the balance after a fascinating match in Portugal last week.

Sporting Lisbon seemed set to take a comfortable 2-0 lead, but there was late drama as Cleiton Xavier converted a stoppage time penalty-kick to alter the entire complexion of the tie.

That away goal gives Metalist a strong chance of progressing to the next round and Sportingbet make the Ukranian outfit favourites to win on the night at 21/20 (2.05).

Sporting Lisbon are rated as a 5/2 (3.50) chance with the same firm to follow up on last week’s first-leg triumph with another win here, while the draw is chalked up as a 12/5 (3.40) chance.

Metalist will be keen to get on the front foot early as they seek to overturn first-leg deficit and strike partners Jonathan Cristaldo and Marko Devic, who have both scored nine goals this term, are at the top of Sportingbet’s first goalscorer market.

Cristaldo is rated as a 9/2 (5.50) shot to notch the opening goal on Thursday night while Ukrainian striker Devic is rated as a 5/1 (6.0) chance. Xavier, who struck the all-important goal for Metalist in Lisbon is chalked up at 6/1 (7.0) with Sportingbet.

For Sporting, top-scorer Ricky van Wolfswinkel is priced up at 13/2 (7.50). Matias Fernandez, the conqueror of Manchester City in the previous round, scored the only goal in 1-0 league win at the weekend and is rated as a 9/1 (10.0) shot with Sportingbet to net first on Thursday night.

Metalist are, arguably, the most underrated side left in this year’s Europa League and, given the home advantage afforded to them here, the 11/10 (2.10) for the Ukrainians to qualify represents great value and is well worth backing.

Metalist Kharkiv to qualify at 11/10 (2.10) with Sportingbet
Marko Devic to score first at 5/1 (6.0) with Sportingbet

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Willie Duncan is a freelance sports journalist. Willie, from Edinburgh, has covered Scottish football for over 10 years and he specialises in football betting markets from across Europe. You can also follow Willie on Twitter here.