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The visitors look a different side from the one that took the Portuguese league by storm last season, and Al Hain-Cole thinks they will find themselves out of their depth in Italy

Fiorentina begin their quest for Europa League glory on Thursday evening, as Pacos de Ferreira visit the Stadio Artemio Franchi for their opening Group E game.

The 1990 finalists have not won a European trophy since 1961 but are clear 1/3 (1.33) favourites with BetVictor to get this campaign off to a winning start tonight.

Os Castores enter the competition after suffering an 8-3 aggregate defeat to Zenit St Petersburg in their Champions League play-off, but are available at 9/1 (10.00) to pick up only their second ever European victory in nine attempts.

The Portuguese side have drawn two of their previous three away games in this competition, and you can get odds of 17/4 (5.25) on them earning a famous point in Tuscany.

The visitors defied all expectations last season to become just the seventh different side to finish in the Primeira Liga’s top three within the last 25 years but unfortunately for them this gatecrashing act did not go unnoticed by the traditional heavyweights, as Porto promptly poached manager Paulo Fonseca to replace the outgoing Vitor Pereira.

The inspirational boss was rather surprisingly replaced by former Porto midfielder Costinha, whose only previous managerial experience was an unsuccessful three-month stint at second tier Beira Mar, and he has so far failed to continue his predecessor’s sterling work.

A disappointing pre-season campaign preceded a run of six consecutive competitive defeats to leave Pacos out of the Champions League and sitting bottom of the league, meaning Vincenzo Montella’s men will surely be licking their lips in anticipation.

La Viola have been placed among the favourites to win this competition after only missing out on a Champions League spot on the final day of last season and their recent form certainly justifies this tag, having won nine of their last 12 matches in all competitions.

The star-studded Italians will surely have too much for their struggling visitors, and odds of 17/20 (1.85) are not to be missed on them coming out on top after leading at half-time.

That bet would have paid out in six of Fiorentina’s last eight competitive fixtures, while their guests have gone in trailing at the break in five of their six defeats this season.

BET
OF THE
DAY
BEST BET
Fiorentina/Fiorentina at HT/FT for a 2pt stake at 5/6 (1.83) with BetVictor

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Al Hain-Cole is a Liverpool fan, experienced tipster and avid follower of European football. He specialises in accumulators and if you would like to read more from Al you can follow him on Twitter here.

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