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Espanyol logo
Segunda Division | 2nd Leg
Jun 13, 2024 at 8pm UK
RCDE Stadium

0 - 0
Sporting Gijon

Preview: Espanyol vs. Sporting Gijon - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Segunda Division clash between Espanyol and Sporting Gijon, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

On Thursday, Espanyol and Sporting Gijon will recommence battle in the second leg of the Segunda Division playoff semi-finals.

The Catalan side have home advantage and the slight upper hand after recording a narrow 1-0 victory in Sunday's first leg.

Match preview

Denmark's Martin Braithwaite on March 23, 2023© Reuters

After being relegated last season, Espanyol now have the chance to bounce straight back to the top flight after collecting 69 points from 42 matches to finish in fourth position.

The Catalan side enjoyed a successful trip to El Molinon for Sunday's first leg, with Javi Puado netting an 88th-minute winner to give his side a narrow lead ahead of the return fixture at Stage Front Stadium.

That result extended Espanyol's impressive unbeaten run to 17 matches, making it over four months since they suffered a 2-0 defeat to Racing Santander on February 10.

The Periquitos have recorded 10 clean sheets during their long unbeaten streak, including shutouts in each of their last three outings.

Espanyol boss Manolo Gonzalez knows that another clean sheet will enable his side to set up a playoff final clash against either Eibar or Real Oviedo.

The hosts have avoided defeat in each of their previous three home games against Sporting, including a goalless draw in last month's clash at Stage Front Stadium.

Having spent seven years in the Segunda Division, Sporting are hoping to return to the top flight for the first time since 2016-17.

The Asturian club collected 65 points from 42 matches to finish in fifth spot and secure their first playoff appearance since experiencing semi-final disappointment in the 2017-18 campaign.

After failing to make the most of home advantage, Miguel Angel Ramirez's side have it all to do in the second leg, especially as they have lost six of their last nine away matches.

They may be able to take some inspiration from the fact that they claimed a 1-0 win in their most recent road trip against Eldense, bringing an end to a three-game winless away run.

However, they have tended to struggle in recent games against Espanyol, with their previous eight meetings producing one win, three draws and four defeats.

Their only victory in that period took place in October's home fixture, while they have not won at the Stage Front Stadium since recording a 2-1 victory in October 2015.

Espanyol Segunda Division form:

Sporting Gijon Segunda Division form:

Team News

Charlotte FC head coach Miguel Ramirez during the first half against the FC Cincinnati at Bank of America Stadium on March 27, 2022© Reuters

The hosts are expected to be without the services of Omar Sadik, Pol Lozano and Eduardo Exposito due to injury.

Despite being an unused substitute, Sergi Gomez was shown a straight red card in the first leg, and he will now miss Thursday's contest through suspension.

Danish striker Martin Braithwaite will continue to lead the line after netting 22 goals in 39 appearances to finish the regular season as the Segunda Division's top scorer.

As for the visitors, they may be unable to call upon Gio Zarfino, Dani Queipo and Uros Djurdjevic due to their respective fitness issues.

Midfielder Nacho Mendez is pushing for a starting spot after returning from injury to feature as a late substitute in the first leg.

Juan Otero and Gaspar Campos represent two of Gijon's main attacking threats, having scored 10 goals apiece during the 2023-24 campaign.

Espanyol possible starting lineup:
Garcia; El Hilali, Calero, Cabrera, Milla; Gragera, Bare; Carreras, Melamed, Puado; Branthwaite

Sporting Gijon possible starting lineup:
Yanez; Rosas, Insua, Sanchez, Cota; Hassan, Pier, Mendez, Campos; Otero, Gonzalez

SM words green background

We say: Espanyol 1-1 Sporting Gijon

Espanyol have avoided defeat in each of their last 17 matches, while they have not lost a home game against a fellow Segunda Division side since October.

With that in mind, we think that the hosts will produce another resolute display to hold Sporting to a draw and protect their slender first-leg advantage.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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