In the race for a place in the third qualifying round of the Europa Conference League Romanian side Steaua Bucharest will be up against Shakhtar Karagandy from Kazakhstan. The clash will be staged in Bucharest with the hosts hoping to carry on with the good form they’ve had in preseason. After finishing last season on a low, they got their best back in winning each of their five preseason matches, but they head to this game straight from a draw in their season opening game, having earned a point in the 0-0 draw with Botosani. That was their second clean sheet in three matches but they will want their scoring run to continue, having netted in five of their last six. At home, they have a great run – three straight wins, and only three losses in 21.
Shakhtar Karagandy have already played 19 matches in their domestic league, as well as a number of cup games. They are coming from a 3-2 win over Kyzyl-Zhar in the cup game, which ended a run of two straight losses, but their work was made easier by a red card to one of their opponents’ defenders. They have no clean sheet in their last three matches, and have failed to score in half of their last 10 matches. It is their away form that should worry them more. In the last six away matches, they have no win, and have managed just two wins in the last 10. Shakhtar Karagandy have lost five of their 10 away matches and they’ve failed to score in three of the last five.
Shakhtar Karagandy aren’t heading to this game on a very strong footing, especially away from home. They have two losses in the last three matches and away from home they are winless in six, while failing to score in three of their last five. They will meet a strong side in Steaua and will have to be at their best to contain their hosts. Back Steaua Bucharest for a win here.