Today’s results have me feeling good about my decision to fancy the unfancied.
Not sure how it happened, but FC Salzburg (aka Red Bull Salzburg) beat Ajax 3-0 – in Amsterdam no less. Likewise, how did Dnipro beat Tottenham.
Other teams that unexpectedly prevailed – or drew – against more well-known opposition: PFC Ludogorets of Bulgaria somehow beat Lazio 1-0. FC Chornomorets Odesa held Lyon to a 0-0 draw, while Maccabi Tel Aviv also held FC Basel 0-0. Maribor drew Sevilla 2-2 – after taking an early lead. Anzhi and Genk also played to a 0-0, which puts a dent in my only-the-Champions-League-KO-stages-are-cagey thesis. (I guess the high stakes in European competition makes everyone cautious)
Juventus easily beat Trabzonspor, and this leads me to my main prediction for this season’s Europa League. I’m not a big fan of declarative it-shall-be-so statements, but Juventus have to win this competition easily. Frankly, they are the best team left in it, and no other team should even get NEAR beating them from now through the final.
The lone surprise of this matchday was Swansea City and Napoli drawing 0-0. I can’t believe Napoli couldn’t score ONE goal during that game.