Group I comes down to the wire on Thursday in the Europa League as Vitoria Guimaraes and Konyaspor meet with aspirations of moving into the Round of 32.
Estadio D. Alfonso Henriques, Guimaraes, Portugal 07 Dec 2017 8:05 pm (GMT)
Key Stat: Konyaspor have only scored one goal away from home in five European matches all time.
Expert Verdict: Konyaspor have been far from decent in European football when they play away, and that gives them a much lower chance of success in this match in Portugal against Vitoria. It's no guarantee for them, but with a win Vitoria will feel like they have done their very best to get through to the next round of the competition.
Pedro Martins will be missing center back Marcos Valente due to injuries.
In order to move on in the tournament, a victory is going to need to happen and they should be looking toward winger Raphinha. The Brazilian has burst onto the scene of late with his performances, and his tow goals at the weekend will only further underline his credentials ahead of this must-win match. He has yet to score or assist in this competition, but the wait is surely going to end given his recent performances.
Vitoria have three wins and two losses in their last five matches:
1-2 win at Setubal
0-1 win at Rio Ave
3-0 loss at Red Bull Salzburg (UEL)
2-1 home win vs Feirense (Cup)
1-4 home loss vs UD Oliveirense (Cup)
Defenders:Garcia, Wakaso, Pedrao, Konan
Midfielders:Celis, Ramos, Hurtado
Forwards:Sturgeon, Raphinha, Rafael Martins
Mehmet Ozdilek will be missing left back Eren Albayrak, defensive midfielder Jens Jonsson, and forward Abdou Traore and Imoh Ezekiel due to injuries.
Konyaspor's season has not been the most solid one in the world this term, and they are struggling in front of goal mightily. Their leading scorer in the league has just three goals, and that man is right back Nejc Skubic. The Slovenian has one in this competition to tie him with two other teammates, and they will need someone to step up here. It looks like it will need to be him if they have aspirations of going on.
Konyaspor have two losses, a win, and two draws in their last five matches:
0-3 home loss vs Bursaspor
0-3 win at Batman Petrolspor (Cup)
2-1 loss at Kasimpasa
1-1 home draw vs Marseille (UEL)
1-1 home draw vs Antalyaspor
Defenders:Skubic, Moke, Filipovic, Oztorun
Defensive Midfielders:Bourabia, Findikli
Attacking Midfielders:Milosevic, Araz, Fofana
Konyaspor and Vitoria Guimaraes have met just once before. That match happened in September as the Turkish side won 2-1 at home. Goals from Musa Araz and Deni Milosevic scored before Paolo Hurtado pulled one back too late for the Portuguese side.
Bet365 have the following odds available for this match:
Vitoria Guimaraes are at 6/5 to win, a draw is at 9/4, and a Konyaspor win is at 23/10.
Much of this match depends on what happens in the match in Marseille between that side and group winners Salzburg. A winner in this match is needed if either side hopes to go through. If neither team wins, this is a moot point and they will each go out.
If either teams gets a win and sees Marseille shockingly lose their home match, they will be through to the knockout rounds. Vitoria would have to use head to head to do so, but that would still be enough for them to shock the continent and move on.
Vitoria come into this match with a total of four points from their two group home matches so far. Overall, Vitoria have fives wins, three draws, and three losses so far. Konyaspor's European record this season away from home has included a loss and a draw. Overall, the Turks have a record of one win, two draws, and seven losses.
Konyaspor will come into this match with a possibly a tick more fatigue than Vitoria as they will come into this match on the back of three straight weeks with matches in midweek.
Both teams to score is at 5/6 on Ladbrokes.
Vitoria have done well at home in the group so far, and it's hard to argue against them here. We suspect that the Portuguese side will get a victory here, but it's likely to be a little bit too late for them to get through.