Shakhter Karagandy travel to Albania with a 3-0 lead ahead of their Champions League second leg against Skenderbeu and while they will almost certainly progress, Paul Robinson thinks they have to be opposed at odds-on to win tonight's game.
"The outcome of the tie is almost a foregone conclusion but Skenderbeu will be no pushovers on home soil."
Skenderbeu reached this third qualifying round of the Champions League for the first time in their history by upsetting Azerbaijan's Neftchi Baku in the previous round. After drawing 0-0 away from home, they took their opponents to extra time in front of their own fans before a late strike saw them prevail 1-0 on aggregate.
Mirel Josa's side couldn't repeat those heroics in Kazakhstan though as they went down 3-0 last week with the 90th minute goal from Sergei Khizhnichenko being the killer, as at 2-0, they were still in the tie. Nevertheless, 'The Snow Wolves' won't go down without a fight and they will want to give their supporters something to cheer about on a ground that they're undefeated on in competitive matches since February - a spell of nine games.
Shakhter Karagandy only formed in 1992 but they've already been involved in plenty of controversy, such as match-fixing. One thing they haven't done though is reach this far in Europe's elite club competition, but after the first leg, they are now pretty much just one round away from making the group stage.
Going into a second leg of a tie with a 3-0 lead can cause complacency though - especially in terms of winning the match. A draw or even a narrow defeat will still see Viktor Kumykov's men progress and I would imagine that they'll adopt quite a cautious approach this evening. Their record on the road doesn't instil much confidence either as it's just four wins in 16 competitive games for the 'Miners'.
The outcome of the tie is almost a foregone conclusion but Skenderbeu will be no pushovers on home soil. That's why, with Shakhter Karagandy trading around the 1.784/5 mark, I have to make them my lay of the day.
Lay Shakhter Karagandy v Skenderbeu @ 1.784/5
2013 P/L (1pt each bet)
Wagered: 216 pts
Returned: 211.89 pts
P/L – 4.11 pts (after commission)
(2012 P/L: + 9.60 pts)