Süper Lig duo aim for home advantage in Conference League playoffs

Turkish Süper Lig duo Başakşehir and Konyaspor will be looking to capitalize on home advantage as they prepare to host the Europa Conference League second qualifying round matches on Thursday.

While Başakşehir will host Israel’s Maccabi Netanya, Konyaspor will host Belarusian representative BATE Borisov.

Başakşehir will be looking to pick up a win in their first European encounter under coach Emre Belözoğlu. He doesn’t have any major injury concerns but the latest transfer, German Turkish star Mesut Özil, won’t be available for the game.

In his previous 36 matches in various European competitions, coached by Abdullah Avcı and Okan Buruk, Başakşehir won nine, drew eight and suffered 19 losses. In those matches, the Istanbul-based team scored 39 goals while conceding 63.

The match against Maccabi Netanya will also be Başakşehir’s first-ever head-to-head against a team from Israel.

He will be looking to take full advantage of playing at home, where he has won six of his nine European wins so far, compared to five draws and seven defeats. He scored 20 goals while conceding 21 in Istanbul.

Başakşehir appeared in European competitions for the first time in the 2015–16 season, but was knocked out of the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round after losing to AZ Alkmaar of the Netherlands.

His first European victory came in 2017-18 against Belgian representatives Club Brugge. After a 3-3 away draw in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round, they won 2-0 at home.

After winning the Turkish title in the 2019-20 season, he went directly to the Champions League group stages.

He was drawn into a tough group, including Paris Saint-Germain, RB Leipzig and Manchester United, losing five of six matches while earning a solitary victory over the Red Devils.

After an early exit from the groups, however, he reached the knockout stages of the Europa League, the club’s best performance in Europe.

The match at Başakşehir Fatih Terim Stadium will start at 8:45 p.m. and will be refereed by Georgian Irakli Kvirikashvili.

The return match will be played on July 28 in Israel. The winner of the qualifying round will face the winner of the game between Iceland’s Breidablik and Montenegro’s Buducnost Podgorica in the third qualifying round.

Konyaspor host BATE

Meanwhile Konyaspor, who finished third in the 2021-22 Süper Lig season, will host Belarusian BATE Borisov for the first leg of the UEFA European Conference League second qualifying round.

Portuguese referee Gustavo Fernandes Correia will officiate the match, which kicks off at 22:00 local time (19:00 GMT), at Konya Metropolitan Stadium.

This will be Konyaspor’s 13th game in Europe. In previous matches, he has one win, four draws and seven defeats. The Central Anatolian side scored six goals in those matches while conceding 18.

Both legs of the Konyaspor-BATE Borisov match will be played in Turkey due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The first match will be played without spectators and the rematch will take place on July 28.

The winner of the second qualifying round will face the winner of the match between Slovenian Koper and Liechtenstein Vaduz in the third qualifying round.

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