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Europa League - Football: Matchday two preview

Having suffered defeat in their opening match in the tournament, Manchester United will be looking to hit back when they visit Sheriff Tiraspol in the Europa League.

A lengthy trip to Moldova will seem a little easier after an unexpected weekend without a game, with Erik ten Hag's side having found their feet with four successive wins in the Premier League before they lost 1-0 at home to Real Sociedad last time out.

Former United boss Jose Mourinho will also be looking for better from his Roma side, while Bundesliga leaders Union Berlin face a tough assignment in Portugal.

United started to tick before Sociedad

WhatSheriff Tiraspol v Manchester United
WhereZimbru Stadium, Chisinau
When17:45, Thursday 15th September 2022
How to watchBT Sport 2
OddsSheriff Tiraspol 11/1, Man Utd 2/9, Draw 6/1 

Dutch coach Ten Hag must have feared the worst as his time in charge at Old Trafford began with defeats to both Brighton and Brentford, but since then he appears to be getting a reaction from his players.

The Red Devils lie fifth in the English top-flight following their four-timer, but the reverse to Sociedad showed that there is still plenty of work to do, although they did carve out a number of chances without being able to puncture the Spanish defence.

Recent record signing Antony marked his league debut with a goal in the 3-1 win over Arsenal, but the Brazilian was less prominent against Sociedad and will hope to make more of a mark in Chisinau.

The team selection by Ten Hag could offer plenty of clues to just how strong the focus is on this game, with Raphael Varane, Scott McTominay and Marcus Rashford having been rested last midweek, while Lisandro Martinez, Bruno Fernandes and Jadon Sancho all started on the bench.

Should United go for a full-strength line-up, 3/1 to win by a two-goal margin appears to be worthy of consideration, but if they don't, then Sheriff have to be seen as a danger after opening their campaign with a 3-0 victory at Omonia Nicosia.

The Tiraspol-based outfit are unbeaten in their last eight games in all competitions, but the standard of the Moldovan league is far from that of their opponents on Thursday.

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Roma require a strong response

WhatRoma v HJK Helsinki
WhereStadio Olimpico, Rome
When20:00, Thursday 15th September 2022
How to watchBT Sport 3
OddsRoma 1/8, HJK 18/1, Draw 8/1 

Portuguese Mourinho guided Roma to glory in the inaugural season of the Europa Conference League, but the new campaign has started in an inconsistent fashion for a side seen as possible Serie A title contenders.

A 2-1 win at Empoli last time out at least steadied the ship, with the Giallorossi having lost their previous two games by an aggregate of 6-1.

A 4-0 league thrashing at Udinese was followed by a 2-1 reverse to Ludogorets in Bulgaria last midweek, leaving the vastly-experienced Mourinho with plenty to ponder.

However, he may be handed a major boost if forward Nicolo Zaniolo is passed fit to feature for the first time this season.

The 23-year-old has been recovering slowly from a shoulder injury, but was on the bench against Empoli and looks to be on course to play a part against the Finns.

HJK suffered a 2-0 home defeat at the hands of Real Betis in their opening group game, but that is their only loss in their last 11 games across all competitions, so they cannot be underestimated.

Home advantage should prove enough to see Roma take the win though, and they are available at 8/13 to win to nil.

Union riding the crest of a wave

WhatSporting Braga v Union Berlin
WhereEstadio Municipal de Braga, Braga
When20:00, Thursday 15th September 2022
OddsBraga 23/20, Union Berlin 9/4, Draw 5/2 

Union Berlin travel to Braga having secured a very notable first in the club's history at the weekend.

They rose to the top of the Bundesliga for the very first time by securing a 1-0 win at Koln, with Die Eisernen unbeaten in their six league games played so far this term.

Suriname forward Sheraldo Becker has been the start of the show with five goals in those six Bundesliga matches, however, a 1-0 loss to Union St Gilloise in their Europa League opener showed that the Berliners are still finding their feet at a higher level.

And their qualities are likely to be tested to the full on Thursday when they meet a Braga outfit who have won their last six - conceding just two goals in the process while knocking in 17 themselves.

Braga have also lost just twice on home turf during 2022 and have past pedigree in this competition, having reached the final back in 2011, only to be edged out 1-0 by Portuguese rivals FC Porto.

A home win to nil at 11/4 offers some value given the recent form of Os Guerreiros do Minho.

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