Sporting vs Videoton – Match Preview

This article first appeared on BetAsia

Videoton FC of Hungary face a big ask tonight as they travel to Sporting Lisbon needing a win to have any chance of progressing to the last 32 of the UEFA Europa League. They trail Basel in second by two points, but are at a disadvantage on the head-to-head rule, meaning they need to win and Basel need to lose away to table-toppers Genk.

Vidi may be decent value however against a Sporting side that seems to have completely unravelled this season at 4/1 (bet £10 to win £40) with BetVictor. The game is enormous for the visitors, while Sporting will have an eye and a half on Monday night’s derby with Benfica. A draw is at 3/1 with BetVictor, while a home win is the odds-on favourite at 4/5 with Ladbrokes.

With only two wins all season, the first few months have been a complete nightmare for fans at the Estadio Jose Alvalade. Nine goals from ten games is the second lowest in the league and they sit below such minnows as Paços de Ferreira and Estoril. Sporting’s average attendance is 28,305, while Estoril’s is 2,006.

The only positive to come out of the season so far for the men in green is the defence – only 11 conceded. Sporting’s last result was a 2-2 draw away to Moreirense, who are second from bottom. The Leões’ (Lions) goalscorers were Xandão and Eric Dier, both defenders.

Videoton, from the town of Székesfehérvár (Say-kesh-fe-hair-var) have made an excellent fist of a tough group. While their league form may have suffered a bit – they are 12 points behind Győri ETO, who top the table – the 3-0 league win at home to Sporting in September must rank among the greatest results in Videoton’s recent history.

Their last result was a 1-1 draw at home to Újpest. Videoton are without a win in five, but before that went on a run of eight wins from ten. Videoton have a strong midfield, organised by Hungarian international Balázs Tóth, with Renato Neto and Filipe Oliveira providing the creativity. Nemanja Niklolic is the man to supply the goals up front.

Bookies seem to expect a low scoring game, but with much at stake for Paulo Sousa’s Videoton Paddy Power’s evens offer on 2.5 appeals. There are some interesting prices available on away wins, with 2-0 looking very generous at 28/1 with Coral. A repeat of the 3-0 dished out by Videoton last time they played is 70/1 with Paddy Power, while 2-1 is at 16/1 with bet365. For Sporting wins look at 2-1 at 15/2 with Coral. 1-1 looks fairly priced at 13/2 with William Hill.

Ricky van Wolfswinkel is the only player to have scored more than once in the league, having scored four. He is 7/2 with bet365 in the first goalscorer market. Andre Carrillo will proably joing van Wolfswinkel up front, but he is no natural goalscorer and should be avoided at 9/1 with bet365.

Given some of the talent in the Sporting squad, their underachievement is even more surprising. Stijn Schaars, Daniel Pranjic and Gellson Fernandes should, in theory, add goals from midfield; none has scored in the league this season. bet365’s 11/1 offer on Diego Capel to hit the back of the net first is really the only other appealing option for Sporting players scoring first.

There are some very nice prices available on Videoton players. Nemanja Nikolic must be worth a bet at 13/2 with bet365 – he has scored twelve this season including four in Europe, including one in the 3-0 against Sporting.

Sousa has tended to start Sándor Torghelle, who played for Crystal Palace in 2004/05, up front with Nikolic in European games due to Torghelle’s added physicality and ability to hold the ball up. He is not prolific, but should not be written off at 11/4 with sportingbet to score anytime. For goals from midfield, Ádám Gyurcsó is a tricky winger with an eye for goals. He is 14/1 with BetVictor to break the deadlock.