Royal Antwerp - Shakhtar Donetsk predictions and free betting tips [04/10/2023]
On Wednesday, 3 October, within the 2nd round of the Champions League group stage, "Antwerp" will host "Shakhtar". Two weeks ago, the hosts were hammered 5:0 by "Barcelona", whereas the Ukrainian team couldn't overcome "Porto", losing in Hamburg 1:3.
"Antwerp": Butez; Bataille, Alderweireld, Coulibaly, Wijndal; Vermeeren, Keita; Kerk, Ekkelenkamp, Muja; Janssen.
"Shakhtar": Riznyk; Konoplya, Rakitskyi, Matvienko, Azarovi; Sudakov, Stepanenko, Bondarenko; Zubkov, Kelsey, Sikan.
The clash will take place in Antwerp at the Bosuill stadium.
"Antwerp", which became the Belgian champion last season after a hiatus of over 60 years, came back in the most prestigious European club tournament, defeating "AEK" in the qualifiers and making it to the CL group stage. However, the club encountered problems in the first round: the red-and-whites were routed in Barcelona (5:0), which drew scepticism from many supporters: João Félix, Robert Lewandowski and an own goal by Jelle Bataille settled the result of the match in the first half, after which Gavi scored for his team, and Félix completed a brace.
After that, the Belgians drew goalless matches with "RWD Molenbeek" (0:0), "Gent" and "Mechelen" in the championship. As a result of these outcomes, the hosts are in the 5th position in the national championship's table. At the same time, "Antwerp" has only lost once at home in 2023 - 0:1 to "Charleroi" in March of this year.
The reigning champion of Ukraine - "Shakhtar" - is a long-standing participant of the Champions League, participating in it for the 23rd time. However, "Shakhtar" didn't start their campaign well, losing at home 1:3 to "Porto" (the match was held in Hamburg due to geopolitical events). Galeno took "Porto" ahead, which was countered by a goal from Kevin Kelsi; however, the Brazilian winger of the Portuguese team capitalized on a defensive mistake to double the score, and then provided an assist to Mehdi Taremi, who resolved the winner of the match before the half-hour mark.
Nevertheless, the guests have scored in each of their last 37 matches since they lost to "RB Leipzig" in the Champions League 11 months ago. "Shakhtar" also suffered their second defeat of the season, this time in the national championship, losing 1:2 to "Vorskla" last weekend. Despite the setback, the guests continue to lead the national championship, just one point ahead.
The game on Wednesday will be the first head-to-head encounter between these opponents. However, "Shakhtar" has lost only two out of 14 of their Eurocups clashes against Belgian teams, and none since 2002.
Predictions for the "Antwerp" – "Shakhtar" match
This game will be important in the fight for a passage to the Europa League since both teams are likely to compete for the third place. Van Bommel's charges need to make amends to their fans after three consecutive goalless draws, moreover, the hosts have failed to score a goal in their last four matches. "Shakhtar" was decent against "Porto" two weeks ago and, objectively, has a more potent and experienced lineup. The guests' odds of snatching at least one point from Belgium are clearly underestimated.
"Shakhtar" is an experienced Eurocup fighter and knows how to play second fiddle. Considering the Belgians' struggles in recent weeks, I recommend betting on the individual total of the guests over 1 goal.
"Shakhtar" even against "Porto", managed to surpass them in the number of corners taken – not to mention "Antwerp", which is lesser in class? I bet that the guests will at least match the red-and-whites in this respect.
Yellow Cards Prediction
Both teams are not particularly rough on the field – I bet on a total of less than 4.5 yellow cards.
I predict a 1:2 score in favor of "Shakhtar".