Riga vs HJK
Competition: UEFA Europa League
Date: 6 August 2019
Kick-off: 18:00 CET
After two goalless draws against Dundalk in the Champions League first qualifying round, a tie at the end of which they got eliminated on penalties at home, Riga went to the… other extreme, scoring four goals past Piast Gliwice over two games in the Europa League second qualifying round, conceding as many goals. Luckily for them, this time no penalties were needed, as the Latvians scored more goals than Piast away from home. Last week they won 2-1 as hosts, just enough to qualify, after losing 3-2 in Gliwice a week earlier. Mihails Konevs, their coach, looked really pumped after their qualification, and it’s easy to see why. He is a man in his mid 50s, he has spent his entire life hearing that Latvia are nothing special, football-wise, and sure, that’s not really untrue, but Konevs pointed out that football in the country is not as bad as most seem to believe, abroad, and proof of that is that the champions of Latvia managed to eliminate the champions of a much more “serious” football power like Poland.
HJK did beat Red Star Belgrade last week at home, 2-1, in the Champions League second qualifying round, but it’s not like they really-really threatened the Serbs. To be more precise, they did, but only for 10 minutes. Seconds into the second half, they took the lead. Be reminded, they had lost 2-0 in Belgrade in the first leg, so as that point, they were just one more goal away from extra-time. Less than 10 minutes later, the Serbs equalized, and the game was over. HJK would never score three more goals past a rival like Red Star in just over 30 minutes. Their winner came in added time, taking advantage of the fact that the Serbs played like… Serbs in the last 10-15 minutes, looking annoyingly complacent, knowing that they had already qualified. Even Red Star’s coach looked pissed off after the match, scolding his players in public.
Previous five matches:
Riga vs Piast Gliwice 2-1
Piast Gliwice vs Riga 3-2
Riga vs Daugavpils / Progress 4-0
Riga vs Dundalk 0-0
Super Nova vs Riga 0-6
HJK Helsinki vs Red Star Belgrade 2-1
HJK Helsinki vs VPS 1-1
Red Star Belgrade vs HJK Helsinki 2-0
Ilves vs Helsinki JK 1-1
HB vs Helsinki JK 2-2
Riga’s next game is on Sunday, against Rīgas FS (Latvia championship). A day earlier, HJK will have hosted Lahti (Finland championship).
Riga vs HJK: Head to head Stats
No history between these two.
Riga vs HJK: Prediction
Super tricky game… I would leave winners and losers aside, and focus on goals.
Riga vs HJK: Betting Tips
“Under 2.5 goals” is at 1.67. “Under 1.5” pays much better, 2.90. Both suit my hunch that we’ll have either a goalless draw, or just one goal, scored most probably by Riga.