Sutjeska Niksic V APOEL Betting Tips: APOEL to Nil – 23 July 2019

Cypriots should swat Montengro champs aside

Champions League Tips

Sutjeska Nikšic V APOEL

Tuesday 23rd July 2019 – 19:15 Kick-Off
UEFA Champions League Second Round
Pick: APOEL Win to Nil
Odds: 11/8
Bookmaker: Boylesports

1 X 2
109/20 63/20 47/100

* (All betting odds displayed were correct as of 21st July 2019 at 14:44)

Preview: The reward for Sutjeska Niksic after dispatching Slovan Bratislava in the previous round is a tie with Cypriot champions APOEL, a club which has featured regularly in the group stages of European competitions. That wealth of experience would partly explain why APOEL are such strong favourites to prevail over two games. The Gradski Stadion in Niksic, Montenegro, is the venue for this first leg clash.

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Sutjeska Nikšic Preview – End of the road for Montenegro champs?

Making only their third appearance in the Champions League second round are Montenegro league champions Sutjeska Niksic, whose progress to this stage has been anything but straightforward. The club earned the right to be here because they were victorious against Slovakia’s Slovan Bratislava in the previous round, but needed penalties to do so, and even that achievement was only made possible after scoring in the dying moments of the second leg to level the aggregate score.

Fine margins, indeed. Sutjeska failed to win either leg against the Slovakian champions but are somehow still standing. Perhaps not for too much longer, though, with a lousy record in Europe suggesting this could be the end of the road for a club which has only ever won once in sixteen matches in UEFA qualifiers. That includes both home and away, but at home in particular the Montenegro title holders have badly struggled.

Since 2009, Sutjeska have hosted eight matches in the qualifying rounds of either the Champions League or Europa League. Their only triumph being a 2-0 win over Hungarian side Debrecen in 2015, with their record at home an alarming W1 D3 L4. Considering most those games were in the first round against some of the weakest teams on the continent, from countries such as Armenia, Kazakhstan and Moldova, well it hardly inspires much confidence regarding the likelihood of them springing a surprise.

Last season saw them feature in the qualifying rounds of both competitions, losing at the first hurdles without so much as scoring a goal against Astana of Kazakhstan (0-3 aggregate) and Alashkert of Armenia (0-1 aggregate).

APOEL & Under 2.5 Goals



APOEL Preview – Poor away form a slight concern?

For a club which has grown accustomed to featuring in the group stages of UEFA club competitions, last season’s failure to qualify altogether must have hurt. That was the first occasion they had been unsuccessful in reaching a group stage since the 2012-13 campaign, competing in two Champions Leagues and three Europa Leagues during the intervening period. The shot at redemption begins in Montenegro.

APOEL, the Cypriot champions in each of the past seven seasons, can consider themselves fortunate to have received a kind-looking draw. Whether that means an easy victory in this away leg remains to be seen, as their record away from home in continental action is extremely poor. Focusing on the most recent three campaigns (2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19), a 1-0 success away in Luxembourg against F91 Dudelange remains their only victory in ten attempts (W1 D3 L6, GF5 GA12).

That is an awful lot of losses, and alarmingly few goals scored, for a team that are firm favourites to win this opening leg. Last season saw them face Suduva in Lithuania (L3-1), Flora Tallinn in Estonia (L2-0), Hapoel Be’er Sheva in Israel (2-2) and Astana in Kazakhstan (L1-0) and fail to register a single victory.

It is form which contrasts sharply to that back home in Cyprus, where they blitzed most opposition when out on their travels to comfortably finish the campaign with the best away record in the country (W12 D2 L2, GF29 GA14). Bearing in mind the latest UEFA Club Coefficients has Cyprus up in 15th, a long way ahead of Montenegro who were in 49th, then this could be a fairer reflection of the gulf between the two teams.


Sutjeska Nikšic V APOEL Key Facts:

  • Montenegro champions Sutjeska have won only one of eight home European games (W1 D3 L4).
  • Cypriot champions APOEL have won one of their previous eleven away matches in Europe (W1 D3 L7).
  • APOEL have frequently competed in the group stages of European competitions.


Betting Summary

At such a short price, APOEL should be a tempting lay. The Cypriot champions boast a wealth of European experience, especially in these early qualifiers, but a woeful record of one win from their last eleven away European qualifiers (W1 D3 L7) is a huge concern.

Their opponents are Sutjeska Niksic, the Montenegro champions who have a tendency to exit Europe very early and have done well to even make it this far. They’ve only won one of sixteen games in UEFA competitions and although that rare success was earned at home, their record in Niksic still makes for grim reading: W1 D3 L4.

Under 2.5 goals would have landed in each of Sutjeska’s previous seven European games and with APOEL’s away record not exactly the best, that bet is one option at reasonable odds of 11/13 with Sportingbet. Sutjeska don’t score much in general though, and a safer alternative (in case the visitors’ superior quality does happen to seriously shine through) could be APOEL grinding out a win without conceding.