30 August 2019
Espanyol head to the Metalurh Stadion to take on Zorya in the second leg of their UEFA Europa League (EL) play-offs tie, looking to seal their place in the EL group stage following a 3-1 home triumph in the reversed fixture.
The hosts have begun their European journey in the second qualifying round, easing past the Montenegrian side Buducnost Podgorica 4-1 on aggregate (3-1 A, 1-0 H). The Ukrainians have then managed to go past CSKA Sofia in the third qualifying round thanks to a 2-1 aggregate victory (1-1 A, 1-0 H) to set up this tie. It is Zorya’s fourth attempt to reach the EL group stage all the way through the qualifiers, with all of their previous efforts coming a cropper. Muzhyky have not only failed to successfully negotiate each of their last EL playoff ties, but they’ve also struggled to win a single game across that period (D2, L4). But, Zorya have lost just three of their last ten European matches at home, qualifiers included (W3, D4, L3), with all three of those losses ending with the same 2-0 scoreline against their favor.
As for the visitors, they’ve been unstoppable in the ongoing EL qualifiers so far. After a routine 7-1 aggregate victory over Stjarnan (4-0 H, 3-1 A) in the second qualifying round, La Liga side went on to dump Luzern out from the third qualifying round 6-0 on aggregate (3-0 A, 3-0 H). The first-leg win over Zorya was Espanyol’s fifth consecutive win in the EL matches, qualifiers included, as they look to break into the EL group stage for the first time in 13 years. The last time Periquitos featured in the European second tier, they’ve finished as the runners-up, with Sevilla beating them in the 2006/07 final after a penalty shootout.
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