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Conference League - Football: Preview

It's the last chance for those in the Europa Conference League to progress on Thursday, with West Ham one of the sides in action.

They are not the only ones gunning for glory, with Fiorentina and last season's Champions League semi-finalists Villarreal protecting leads, while Northern Ireland's Linfield are another side chasing qualification.

Hammers eye an improvement


Viborg v West Ham


Energi Viborg Arena


18:00 UK, Thursday 24th August

How to watch

Premier Sports 1


Viborg 10/3, Draw 11/4, West Ham 4/5 

After a superb couple of seasons, West Ham's record of three Premier League defeats from as many games leaves them bottom of the standings.

David Moyes' men are still 1/1 to finish in the top half and will be looking to use Europe as a springboard for the season.

The Hammers, who reached the semi-finals of last season's Europa League before going down to eventual winners Eintracht Frankfurt, head to Viborg protecting a 3-1 lead.

Gianluca Scamacca scored his first goal for the club and is 6/4 to net at anytime. The Italian's influence could be crucial with his side far from watertight.

Sunday's 2-0 defeat to Brighton saw them carved open by the Seagulls and Vyborg also had their moments in Stratford.

While Moyes' men should get through, it won't be easy, and an away win but with both to score is 9/4.

Viola eye group stage return


FC Twente v Fiorentina


De Grolsch Veste, Enschede


18:00, Thursday 24th August

How to watch

bet365's European Soccer Live Streaming Highlights


FC Twente 17/10, Draw 13/5, Fiorentina 29/20

It is somewhat surprising that Fiorentina haven't played in Europe since 2016/17 but they have the perfect chance to prolong their campaign on Thursday.

The Viola lead Dutch outfit Twente 2-1 but will need to have their wits about them in Enschede.

Goals from Nico Gonzalez and Arthur Cabral put them ahead in the tie, only for Vaclav Cerny to get what Ron Jans' side will hope could prove a vital strike.

Twente were second best in Tuscany, managing just four attempts to Fiorentina's 13, but are a determined bunch at De Grolsch Veste.

They have lost just one of their last 10 competitive games at home and have scored in every match on their own patch since drawing 0-0 with Feyenoord in November 2021.

Both teams to score comes in at 8/11 and Sunday's 0-0 draw for Fiorentina down the road at Empoli is unlikely to be repeated.

A Twente player to follow could be Michel Vlap, who is 10/3 in the anytime goalscorer market after scoring in both legs in the last round against Cukaricki.

Even so, Fiorentina's attacking options of Gonzalez, Aleksandr Kokorin and Luka Jovic look a cut above and they are 29/20 to triumph.

Related Europa Conference League News

Conference League - Football: All you need to know

Impressive Villarreal should have too much in Split


Hajduk Spilt v Villarreal


Stadion Poljud, Split


20:00, Thursday 24th August

How to watch

bet365's European Soccer Live Streaming Highlights 


Hajduk Spilt 4/1, Draw 16/5, Villarreal 8/13

After winning the 2020/21 Europa League, Villarreal again demonstrated their aptitude for European football by defeating both Juventus and Bayern Munich on their way to the semi-finals of last season's Champions League.

Therefore, the Conference League feels a step down but they could only finish seventh in last season's La Liga. Unai Emery won't quibble, though, and has seen his team beat both Real Valladolid and Atletico Madrid in their opening two league games without conceding.

A 4-2 win over Hadjuk Split was a touch more exciting and they now need to hold their nerve as they head to the shores of the Adriatic.

Hadjuk battled past Vitoria Guimaraes to reach this stage and it was the home leg that made the difference.

They beat the Portuguese outfit 3-1 at the Stadion Poljud and another case of over 3.5 goals is 13/8.

Despite Villarreal's domestic frugality, the changes they could make on Thursday may leave them vulnerable. Even so, they should have the attacking prowess to grab another victory, with a repeat win and both to score for the Yellow Submarine available at 7/4.

One last chance for Linfield


Linfield v Rigas FS


Windsor Park, Belfast


19:45, Thursday 24th August

How to watch

BBC NI and iPlayer


Linfield 2/1, Draw 11/5, Rigas FS 29/20

Northern Irish champions Linfield have endured a frustrating European campaign to date. They battled past The New Saints before beating Bodo / Glimt 1-0 at home. However, the Norwegian outfit then defeated them 8-0 to end their Champions League dreams.

David Healy's side were then outclassed by Zurich in the Europa League, leaving the Conference League as their last shot at continental football this year.

The good news is that they battled to a 2-2 draw last week in Latvia against Rigas FS and were the decent 3-1 winners on Sunday at Newry City.

They will look to make home advantage count against a Rigas side who have conceded in their last six games. Chances beckon at Windsor Park and Finnish striker Eetu Vertainen could be the man for Linfield.

The 23-year-old has netted three times in as many games, including a brace at Newry, and could prove vital as the Blues chase the victory at 2/1.

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