Qarabag welcome Aberdeen to Tofiq Bahramov Republican Stadium, Baku, Azerbaijan, in the first leg of their play-off tie in 2021-22 UEFA Europa Conference League.
Qarabag scraped their way past AEL Limassol in the Third Qualifying Round to qualify for this Play-Off, whereas Aberdeen defeated Breioablik 5-3 on aggregate to move to within one round of reaching the Group Stage.
Elvin Jafarguliyev is ruled out for Qarabag with a heel injury.
Badavi Huseynov is sidelined with an unspecified injury.
Aberdeen will be without Ryan Hedges after the 26 year-old suffered a hamstring injury during Sunday’s shock 2-1 cupset at Raith Rovers in the Scottish League Cup.
Jonny Hayes is another doubt after suffering a leg injury in Sunday’s loss but has travelled with the squad to Baku for the first leg.
- This is Qarabag’s first-ever meeting against Aberdeen in all competitions.
- Qarabag drew their only previous home match against Scottish opposition in European competition, after holding Celtic to goalless draw in Third Qualifying Round of 2015-16 Champions League.
- Aberdeen are facing Azerbaijan opposition for the very first time.
- Qarabag have won just one of their last five home matches across all European competitions (W1, D2, L2).
- Aberdeen have scored in just two of their last five away trips in all European competitions (W2, D3).
Qarabag enter this match with a solid play-off record in recent seasons but have scraped their way through Qualifying to reach this stage this season, so will need to raise their game because Aberdeen will likely pose a tough test given the Dons’ attacking quality
Having fought their way past two Nordic opposition to reach this stage, Aberdeen now face their biggest test because they come into this match off the back of a surprise defeat at Raith Rovers where their defence ultimately cost them with a shaky performance despite producing an excellent attack this season.
On that note, I can see a tightly fought contest because Qarabag do look like a defensive team to break down, which means that Aberdeen will have to bide their time with patient play but the Dons should have enough in them to snatch a first leg win.
Prediction: Qarabag 0-1 Aberdeen
Result: Qarabag 1-0 Aberdeen