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Europa League | Knockout Round Playoffs | 2nd Leg
Feb 23, 2023 at 5.45pm UK
MCH Arena
Sporting Lisbon

0 - 4
Sporting Lisbon

Paulinho (36'), Ashour (74'), Gigovic (90')
Paulinho (38')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Coates (21'), Goncalves (50', 77'), Gartenmann (85' og.)
Esgaio (33'), Ugarte (74')

Preview: FC Midtjylland vs. Sporting Lisbon - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Europa League clash between FC Midtjylland and Sporting Lisbon, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

FC Midtjylland and Sporting Lisbon are back in action in the Europa League when they square off in the second leg of the playoffs at the MCH Arena on Thursday.

With last week's first-leg clash ending in a stalemate, a place in the round of 16 is still up for the taking and this makes for a nail-biting and thrilling contest.

Match preview

FC Midtjylland's Emam Ashour celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on February 16, 2023© Reuters

Despite how the game panned out, Albert Capellas will take pride in his side's first-leg performance as Midtjylland held Primeira Liga powerhouse Sporting Lisbon to a 1-1 draw last Thursday in Lisbon.

Egyptian midfielder Emam Ashour opened the scoring at the Estadio Jose Alvalade to hand the Danish outfit a 77th-minute lead, and with victory within their grasp, Sebastian Coates jumped highest to head home the equaliser in the fourth minute of stoppage time.

The Wolves backed up their Europa League display with another show of class as they cruised to a 4-0 league victory over Viborg on Monday, with Danish youngster Gustav Isaksen scoring a sensational second-half hat-trick.

Prior to that, Midtjylland were on a run of five consecutive games without a win in the Superliga, where they are currently fourth in the league standings with 26 points from 18 matches.

The Danish outfit, who finished second in Group F of the Europa League, head into Thursday unbeaten in their last six matches, claiming three wins and three draws since November's 3-1 loss to Viborg in the Danish Cup.

Sporting Lisbon's Arthur Gomes celebrates scoring against Tottenham Hotspur on September 13, 2022© Reuters

Sporting Lisbon, on the other hand, returned to winning ways in the Primeira Liga as they held their own to edge out a dogged Chaves side 3-2 at the Estadio Municipal Eng. Manuel Branco Teixeira on Monday.

After Pedro Goncalves and Joao Teixeira scored for either side to end the first half level, Goncalves and Nuno Santos netted in a nine-minute spell to put the visitors in a commanding lead before Hector Hernandez grabbed a 96th-minute consolation.

Prior to that, the 19-time Primeira Liga champions saw their run of three consecutive league victories come to an end on February 12 when they suffered a 2-1 loss at the hands of rivals Porto.

Following Monday's result, Sporting Lisbon are now without defeat away from home in four games on the bounce, picking up three wins and one draw since a 1-0 defeat at Maritimo on January 8.

Ruben Amorim's side, who spent the first half of the season competing in the Champions League before their early exit, are currently fourth in the Primeira Liga table, eight points off third-placed Braga in the Champions League qualifying playoff spot.

While Sporting Lisbon will be looking to make it four consecutive away wins and secure their place in the last 16 of the Europa League, they journey to the MCH Arena, where Midtjylland are unbeaten in nine of their last 10 matches, claiming six wins and three draws since the first week of September.

FC Midtjylland Europa League form:

FC Midtjylland form (all competitions):

Sporting Lisbon Europa League form:

Sporting Lisbon form (all competitions):

Team News

FC Midtjylland coach Albert Capellas reacts on February 16, 2023© Reuters

Midtjylland will have to cope without midfielder Emiliano Martinez, who will serve a one-game suspension after crossing the yellow card threshold with his booking in the first leg.

On the injury front, Capellas will be unable to call upon Brazilian forward Junior Brumado, who has missed the last two matches through injury.

Isaksen turned in a performance of the highest quality in Monday's league outings and we expect the 21-year-old to lead the hosts' attack once again, alongside Frederik Heiselberg and Valdemar Andreasen.

Meanwhile, Daniel Braganca remains out of contention for the Lisbon outfit after the Portuguese midfielder sustained a cruciate ligament rupture last May.

Having missed two straight games through injury, Hidemasa Morita returned to action against Chaves when he was handed a 30-minute cameo and the 27-year-old should be fit enough to make the starting side on Thursday.

With his brace in the aforementioned game, Goncalves has now been involved in seven goals in his last eight matches and the 24-year-old forward will be one to look out for.

FC Midtjylland possible starting lineup:
Lossl; Andersson, Dalsgaard, Gartenmann, Paulinho; Gigovic, Sorensen, Olsson; Isaksen, Heiselberg, Andreasen

Sporting Lisbon possible starting lineup:
Adan; Juste, Coates, Reis; Esgaio, Morita, Ugarte, Santos; Goncalves, Edwards, Paulinho

SM words green background

We say: FC Midtjylland 1-2 Sporting Lisbon

Having failed to come out on top at home, Sporting Lisbon are in for a tough 90 minutes at the MCH Arena, where Midtjylland have shown resilience in recent weeks. While the Danish outfit will look to build on last week's result, Amorim's side boast the firepower needed to get the job done and we are backing them to get this one over the line.

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

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Sporting Lisbon coach Ruben Amorim on January 15, 2023
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