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Europa League | Group Stage
Sep 21, 2023 at 5.45pm UK
Tofik Bakhramov
Molde logo
1 - 0
Andrade (55')
Jankovic (84'), Medina (87'), Romao (90+1')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Breivik (20'), Ellingsen (34'), Andre Kaasa (47'), Eriksen (90+7')

Preview: Qarabag FK vs. Molde - prediction, team news, lineups

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

Qarabag FK and Molde will begin their Europa League group-stage campaign on Thursday when they face off at the Azersun Arena in Azerbaijan.

The hosts have lost just one of their last nine matches in all competitions, while the visitors travel to Baku off the back of consecutive victories.

Match preview

Qarabag coach Gurban Gurbanov before the match on February 16, 2023© Reuters

Qarabag are appearing in the Europa League group stage for the fifth time in six seasons after successfully navigating their way through the qualifying rounds.

The Azerbaijan Premier League champions initially started their European campaign in Champions League qualifying, before dropping down to the Europa League following a defeat to Rakow Czestochowa in the second round.

They made light work of HJK in the third round of Europa League qualifying before they claimed a 3-1 victory over Olimpija Ljubljana to seal their place in the group stage, where they will face Molde, Hacken and Bayer Leverkusen.

Qarabag will head into Thursday's contest in a positive mood after they ended a three-game winless run in all competitions with a 2-0 win over Sabah in Saturday's league meeting.

Including qualifying, Qarabag have avoided defeat in their last 12 home games in UEFA competition (W6, D6) — a run which stretches back to February 2022 when they lost 3-0 to Marseille in the Europa Conference League knockout stages.

Molde have had to settle for a place in the Europa League group stage after their hopes of reaching the main draw of the Champions League were ended by Galatasaray.

The Norwegian side negotiated qualifying ties against HJK Helsinki and KI, but they were ultimately unable to overcome the final hurdle, as they fell to a 5-3 aggregate defeat to the Turkish champions.

While they would have been disappointed to lose out in Champions League qualifying, Molde can look forward to competing in the Europa League group stage for the first time since the 2020-21 season.

Molde will have fond memories of that campaign after they progressed to the round of 16, which still represents their best performance in UEFA competition.

After beating Haugesund 2-1 and thrashing Odd 4-1 in their last two league games, Molde will carry some momentum into Thursday's away fixture.

Qarabag FK Europa League form:

Qarabag FK form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • L
  • W

Molde form (all competitions):

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Team News

Qarabag boss Gurban Gurbanov is still unable to call upon the services of Marko Vesovic and Abbas Huseynov, who are ruled through injury.

Despite coming off the bench to score at the weekend, Hamidou Keyta may have to settle for a place among the substitutes, with Gurbanov set to name an unchanged lineup.

Juninho will continue to lead the line for the hosts after scoring three goals in six appearances since arriving from Portuguese side Chaves in the summer.

As for the Norwegian side, Martin Linnes, Erling Knudtzon and Martin Ellingsen are all regarded as doubts for Thursday's away trip.

After coming off the bench to score in Molde's last two league games, Magnus Wolff Eikrem could be rewarded with a starting place.

Summer signing Fredrik Gulbrandsen also made an impact in his substitute appearance, finding the net in the 4-1 win to mark his debut with a goal, and he is likely to be used from the bench once again, as he continues to build up his match fitness.

Qarabag FK possible starting lineup:
Ramazanov; Bayramov, Mustafazada, Medina, Cafarquliyev; Jankovic, Romao; Andrade, Benzia, Zoubir; Juninho

Molde possible starting lineup:
Karlstrom; Oyvann, Bjornbak, Hagelskjaer; Lovik, Hestad, Kasa, Breivik, Haugen; Kitolano, Eikrem

SM words green background

We say: Qarabag FK 2-1 Molde

Molde lost all three of their away games in Champions League qualifying, and we think that trend could continue into Thursday's fixture when they face a Qarabag side who have avoided defeat in their last 12 UEFA home games.

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

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 2.5:data

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Group A

1West Ham540112
4Backa Topola50141

Group B

3AEK Athens51134

Group C

3Sparta Prague52127
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Group D

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Group E

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Group F

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Group G

1Slavia Prague540112
4Sheriff Tiraspol50141

Group H

1B. Leverkusen550015

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