MX23RW : Tuesday, June 15 04:35:23| >> :600:7623420:7623420:
Mar 18, 2021 at 5.55pm UK at Aker Stadion
Vallejo (29' og.), Hestad (90' pen.)
Risa (62')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Soldado (72')
Diaz (7')

Preview: Molde vs. Granada - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Europa League clash between Molde and Granada, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Molde and Granada, the two lowest-ranked clubs remaining in the Europa League, reconvene at the Puskas Arena in Budapest on Thursday for the second leg of their last-16 tie.

The Spanish club lead 2-0 from last week's reverse fixture thanks to goals from Jorge Molina and Roberto Soldado, either side of Martin Ellingsen's red card for Molde.

Match preview

Granada players celebrate overcoming Napoli in the Europa League on February 25, 2021© Reuters

Last season's Eliteserien runners-up have it all to do on neutral territory on Thursday if they are to overturn the two-goal deficit from the first leg.

Molde are competing in the round of 16 of the competition for the first time ever, while for Granada this is their first European campaign of any sort.

Both teams have made some history, then, but neither will want their journey to end at this point, knowing that they have each been dealt effectively a dream draw.

Taking the first-leg win into account, Granada have won three of their last four games in all competitions, including a 1-0 victory at home to Real Sociedad in La Liga on Sunday.

That victory moved them up to eighth in the Spanish top flight and within four points of seventh, which is the position they finished in last time around.

Molde have had far less preparation heading into this two-legged tie, meanwhile, as the Norwegian football season does not begin for another month.

Molde's Martin Ellingsen scores against Dundalk in the Europa League on December 3, 2020© Reuters

Indeed, the only competitive games played by Erling Moe's side since Christmas have come in the Europa League.

Moe's men saw off Bundesliga side Hoffenheim 5-3 in the last 32, while Granada stunned Napoli 3-2 in the last round.

That momentum has continued into the last 16 and Diego Martinez will be hopeful of seeing the job through, knowing that one goal on Thursday will mean Molde having to score four.

Molde will ideally need to keep a clean sheet, then, but they have shipped 16 goals in the Europa League this season - more than any other side still left in the competition.

The Norwegians, meanwhile, have registered only one clean sheet in their last seven games on the continent and have progressed from a European knockout tie after losing the first leg just once in their last eight attempts.

Molde Europa League form:
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • L

Molde form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • L

Granada Europa League form:
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • W

Granada form (all competitions):
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W

Team News

Granada's Kenedy celebrates scoring their second goal with Jorge Molina on February 18, 2021© Reuters

Ellingsen will play no part at the Puskas Arena after being dismissed in the first leg, meaning that Moe will be forced into at least one change.

Molde are chasing goals, so forward Datro Fofana is in contention to come into the side in place of holding midfielder Ellingsen.

Ola Brynhildsen is the designated home team's only confirmed injury absentee for this second leg.

As for Granada, Martinez has a lengthy injury list to contend with as Yan Eteki and Dimitri Foulquier are the latest to have sustained injuries.

Quini is ineligible, having been omitted from the club's Europa League squad, which could see Jesus Vallejo slot in at right-back in Foulquier's likely absence.

Soldado was on target in the first leg, becoming the fourth player to score for four teams from the same country in UEFA Cup/Europa League history, and should retain his place here.

Molde possible starting lineup:
Linde; Pedersen, Gregersen, Sinyan, Haugen; Hestad, Eikrem, Aursnes, Andersen; Fofana, Sigurdarson

Granada possible starting lineup:
Silva; Vallejo, Duarte, Perez, Diaz; Gonalons, Herrera; Kenedy, Molina, Puertas; Soldado

SM words green background

We say: Molde 0-1 Granada (0-3 on aggregate)

After doing the hard work in the first leg, one goal on Thursday should be enough to see Granada book a place in Friday's quarter-final draw - an incredible achievement.

The Spanish side have kept a clean sheet in back-to-back games, whereas Molde have the worst defensive record of the teams still left in the Europa League, so we are tipping them to get the job done.

Top tip

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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta in the Europa League on February 18, 2021
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