HNK Hajduk Split
19:05 GMT 17 August 2017
European football returns to Goodison Park after its absence in the last few years but they still need to ensure they qualify for the UEFA Europa League group stage. They must beat Croatian side, Hajduk Split over two legs to progress and the first leg will be played in Merseyside this Thursday with the second leg in Croatia next week. The Toffees finished 7th in the Premier League last term while Hajduk finished 3rd in the 1. HNL table.
The two sides have never met in European competition so the two-legged affair will be the first time they have ever locked horns. Everton aren’t used to playing regular continental football whereas Hajduk qualify for either the Europa League or Champions League nearly every season.
It is vital that Everton use their home advantage in the first leg to take a lead to Croatia for the second leg. They can’t let the occasion get the better of them but the addition of an experienced European footballer in Wayne Rooney will help to relax the more inexperienced members of the squad. One of the more experienced players, Seamus Coleman, will miss the match with James McCarthy. Other than that, the squad is fit and healthy.
Latest matches: Everton FC
|12.08.2017||Prem||Everton FC||Stoke City||1:0||W|
|06.08.2017||Club||Everton FC||Sevilla FC||2:2||D|
|03.08.2017||UEFA||MFK Ruzomberok||Everton FC||0:1||W|
|27.07.2017||UEFA||Everton FC||MFK Ruzomberok||1:0||W|
|22.07.2017||Club||KRC Genk||Everton FC||1:1||D|
Avoiding defeat will be the main priority for Hajduk Split in the first leg in order to make sure it’s still all to play for at their place. Former Leicester City and Portsmouth striker, Marko Futacs, is the only injury they need to worry about so they should take confidence from an available squad full of players with experience of European qualifiers.
Latest matches: HNK Hajduk Split
|11.08.2017||1. H||HNK Hajduk Split||NK Slaven Belupo||1:0||W|
|06.08.2017||1. H||NK Dinamo Zagreb||HNK Hajduk Split||3:1||L|
|03.08.2017||UEFA||HNK Hajduk Split||Brondby IF||2:0||W|
|30.07.2017||1. H||HNK Cibalia-Vinkovci||HNK Hajduk Split||1:2||W|
|27.07.2017||UEFA||Brondby IF||HNK Hajduk Split||0:0||D|
If Everton fail to make the group stage from this qualifier, it will go down as very disappointing so there is no doubt that they are the favourites to progress into the next round. The Toffees should be able to take a comfortable lead into the second leg with the players at their disposal. It will be an uphill battle for the visitors and they could be in a position where they can’t pull it back when the tie is taken to Croatia.
17 August 2017 - 19:05 GMT
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