Europa League Play-Off Preview: Dundalk -v- KI Klaksvik

Wed, Sep 30 2020

None Credit: Clare McCahill (ETPhotos)

DUNDALK

Dundalk will be looking to reach the Europa League group stages for the second time in their history when they take on Faroese side KI Klaksvik at the Aviva Stadium on Thursday evening (kick-off is at 7.30pm).

The Lilywhites created European history during a fabled 2016 run that saw them reach the Europa League group stages for the first time.

Only eight players remain at Oriel Park from the squad that went to new European heights four years ago, while the management duo of Kenny and Vinny Perth have left the club since.

Their new interim boss Filippo Giovagnoli was tasked in recent weeks to take over the Lilywhites – and his latest assignment sees him tasked with bringing them to the group stages.

“KI are a dangerous team,” Giovagnoli told his club’s media team. “They don’t need control of the game and don’t need possession.

“They play a certain way and we have prepared for that. I am sure that we are going to perform to a high level.

“The focus is on the club and it presents us with an amazing opportunity. It’s about the club and the players and what can happen. It’s for the entire football nation in Ireland. It’s important for everybody.

“This game is a final. You can say so many things, but this is a final. When you are in a final, you deserve to be there, it is important to them (KI) and important to us.”

Midfielder Greg Sloggett added: “If you had to offer us this going into the first round of the Champions League we would have taken it and it’s a game that we are favourites for but by no means will it be straight forward.

“It’s going to be a difficult task for us, KI put six past Dinamo Tbilisi in the last round, and they are a good side.

“We have every faith in ourselves that we can get the result we need and make more history for the club.”

Dundalk will see defender Andy Boyle return to the squad after missing out on the win over Sheriff Tiraspol with suspension.

However, Chris Shields will miss out after being booked last week against Sheriff, while Sean Gannon is rated as a doubt as Dane Massey remains out.

KI KLAKSVIK

Faroese side KI Klaksvik will be looking to make Faroese footballing history when they take on Dundalk tomorrow evening.

KI, and no other Faroese side, have ever reached the Europa League play-off round previously, and they will be hoping to become the first on Thursday evening in Dublin 4.

KI dropped into the Europa League qualifiers after losing to Swiss side Young Boys – but they have of course knocked out Georgians Dinamo Tbilisi in their last Europa League outing with a 6-1 win.

Incredibly, KI only had only 29% of the ball in the possession stakes against Dinamo Tbilisi – yet they still managed to score six.

And following their win, their goalkeeper Lukasz Jarosinski told RTE Sport that both he and his teammates are well prepared for their game against Dundalk.

“We only play one game without a second leg, so everyone can win against anyone,” he said. “The chances are 50-50.”

He added: “Dundalk will respect us. We beat Dinamo Tbilisi well. We did a good job. They must win. We simply can.

“We are going to Ireland to be promoted to the Europa League. The pressure is greater on the Irish, but we will do our best and play 100%.”

KI Klaksvik have not released team news ahead of their trip to Dublin to take on Dundalk at the Aviva Stadium.

 

Referee: Maurizio Mariani (Italy).

 

MATCH STATS

Dundalk have only won once in any of their previous five visits to the Aviva Stadium, with their most recent win at the Lansdowne Road venue coming over Cork City in the 2018 FAI Cup Final.

KI Klaksvik are unbeaten in their previous eight league games – with their last defeat coming on July 12th against B36 Torshavn.

However, KI are second in the Faroese top-flight to HB Torshavn, trailing HB by seven points, although they have in fact played a game less than their title rivals.

BETTING

Dundalk 1/2; Draw 14/5; KI Klaksvik 9/2.

PREDICTION

Dundalk 2 - 1 KI Klaksvik

 

Dundalk

Injured: Dane Massey.

Doubtful: Sean Gannon.

Suspended: Chris Shields.

 

KI Klaksvik

Injured: N/A.

Doubtful: N/A.

Suspended: None.