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Conference League - Football: Matchday two preview

The second round of group fixtures in the Europa Conference League takes place on Thursday and there are some big games across the continent.

West Ham, who reached the semi-finals of the Europa League last season, travel to Silkeborg in Denmark bidding to extend their winning start in Group B, and Scottish Premiership side Hearts head to Latvia to face Rigas FS in Group A.

Hammers hoping for faster start in Denmark


Silkeborg IF v West Ham, Europa Conference League


JYSK Park, Silkeborg, Denmark


20:00, Thursday 15th September 2022

How to watch

BT Sport 2


Silkeborg IF 11/2, West Ham 1/2, Draw 10/3

West Ham have made a patchy start to their 2022/23 Premier League campaign, sitting 18th in the table after taking just four points from their first six matches, but the Conference League offers the Hammers a good chance to boost their confidence.

David Moyes' men are 1/2 to win away to 11/2 Silkeborg in Denmark although the Premier League side won't be taking anything for granted after their clash with FCSB on matchday one.

The Romanian underdogs led 1-0 at the London Stadium with just 21 minutes remaining before West Ham roared back with goals from Jarrod Bowen, Emerson Palmieri and Michail Antonio.

Moyes may well be concerned about the Hammers sluggish starts to matches this season as their earliest goal in six league games was a 55th-minute Tomas Soucek effort against Tottenham.

The draw-West Ham half time/full time selection is worth considering at 10/3 although the Hammers made light work of another Danish side, Viborg, in qualifying for the Conference League group stage.

They thumped Viborg, who are two points ahead of Silkeborg after nine rounds of Superliga fixtures, 6-1 on aggregate and Italian striker Gianluca Scamacca opened the scoring in the 22nd and 23rd minutes of the two legs. Scamacca is 9/2 to be first goalscorer on his return to Denmark on Thursday.

Struggling Hearts face tricky trip to Latvia


Rigas FS v Hearts, Europa Conference League


Skonto Stadium, Riga, Latvia


20:00, Thursday 15th September 2022

How to watch

BT Sport 1


Rigas FS 21/10, Hearts 6/5, Draw 5/2

Hearts have lost six of their last seven matches in all competitions but they are 6/5 to get back to winning ways against Latvian hosts Rigas FS.

Backing the Jambos at those odds requires something of a leap of faith for punters given that they have been beaten to nil in five of their last six fixtures including a 4-0 home defeat to Istanbul Basaksehir on matchday one of the Europa Conference League.

Rigas FS, who are 21/10 for victory and 4/1 to win to nil, have to be respected as they have lost only one of their last 15 matches.

They rode their luck in qualifying, equalising through a 120th-minute own goal before beating Linfield on penalties, but they rose to the occasion on matchday one, claiming a shock 1-1 draw away to Serie A side Fiorentina.

Hearts should welcome back Jorge Grant after suspension and he is likely to play as an attacking midfielder behind Scotland striker Lawrence Shankland.

Grant is 4/1 in the anytime goalscorer betting while Shankland, who scored a late winner from the penalty spot against St Johnstone on 28th August, is 9/2 to be first goalscorer.

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Basaksehir should stand firm against faltering Fiorentina


Istanbul Basaksehir v Fiorentina, Europa Conference League


Basaksehir Fatih Terim Stadium, Istanbul, Turkey


20:00, Thursday 15th September 2022

How to watch

BT Sport 4


Istanbul Basaksehir 7/4, Fiorentina 13/8, Draw 11/5

Istanbul Basaksehir made an impressive start to their Group A campaign with a 4-0 win away to Hearts and they are a tempting price at 7/4 to beat 13/8 shots Fiorentina at home on matchday two.

Basaksehir followed up their success at Tynecastle with a 1-0 victory away to Turkish Super Lig rivals Besiktas in which former Aston Villa forward Bertrand Traore scored his first goal for the club.

Besiktas may have felt a little aggrieved about the result, having had 21 shots to their opponents' seven, but Basaksehir are on a roll after five consecutive wins, four of them to nil.

They are unbeaten in 12 competitive fixtures this season, conceding only four goals, and that solid foundation should be a concern for a faltering Fiorentina side.

La Viola needed an injury-time winner to see off promoted Cremonese 3-2 in their Serie A opener and they have scored only two goals in five subsequent league matches.

Their struggles continued in the Conference League last week as they were held to a 1-1 draw at home by group underdogs Rigas FS and Fiorentina have drawn five of their last seven matches in all competitions.

Another stalemate can be backed at 11/5 while Basaksehir's defensive strength and Fiorentina's lack of cutting edge up front means the 7/10 about under 2.5 goals looks a solid bet.

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