Linfield – AEL Limassol 25.07.2012
The Northern Irish side will try to make amends for the 3-0 defeat in the first leg, but the general impression is they lack the quality needed to match a side like AEL Limasol.
Linfield may have won the Northern Irish championship in style, finishing the league campaign 12 points clear of the nearest opponents, but the match in Cyprus showed they are nowhere near good enough to do something more in Europe. Linfield not only lost the game 3-0 but were completely outclassed by their opponents, who opted to take the foot off gas once they were comfortably in front. After adopting a defence minded approach in Limasol, the Northern Irish side are likely to adopt a more positive approach in the return leg, which is only going to make the job easier for their opponents. Regardless of the team AEL boss sends out on the pitch, I seriously doubt Linfield can avoid defeat here.
Match: Linfield – AEL Limassol 20.45h
League: Champions League
Our prediction: Away Win Odds: 1.55
AEL Limasol produced quite a coup by beating Cypriot giants APOEL and Omonia to the league title and that speaks volumes about their qualities. Having been out of Europe for so long, the team are not only interested in going as far as possible, but also want to accrue as many points on the way, so as to improve their FIFA coefficient. AEL have done well to record a comfortable victory in the first leg and they are now expected to repeat such performance in Northern Ireland and ensure another convincing victory. Having been pitted against Partizan Belgrade in the next round, AEL need to keep the spirits high with a good result against Linfield as they need all the help they can get before the clash with Serbian champions.