6:55 PM, European judgment day for Molde FK

Erling MoePhoto: Svein Ove Ekornesvåg / NTB
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Tonight, Thursday, March 18, Erling Moe’s Molde FK face Granada CF at the Puskas Arena in Budapest, Hungary. The fixture will kick off at 18.55 Norwegian time, and the winners will enter into the quarter final (last 8) of the UEFA Europa League.

All to do for Molde

The two-legged tie will be finalized in Hungary, due to travel restrictions on account of COVID-19. Nonetheless, Molde are technically at “home,” but will be unable to utilize the usual trappings of home advantage, such as the presence of home fans and being able to forego traveling. On top of this, thanks to Granada’s Jorge Molina and Roberto Soldado, Granada will enter the match 2 goals up on aggregate.

This places Molde in a tough spot: away goals “count double” in Europa League ties, and so if Granada score at all, Molde will need to win by three clear goals on the evening to progress. If Granada do not score, Molde will need to win 2-0 to extend the tie into extra time, or by more than two to win within 90 minutes.

Expected teams

For Molde’s part, Ola Brynhildsen will be absent due to injury, and Martin Ellingsen will also miss out after receiving a red card in the first tie, following a pair of frustration-induced late challenges.

Granada will have several selection problems amounting from ineligibility and injury. Yan Eteki and Dimitri Foulquier are the two latest entries on Granada’s unavailable list.

Having said that, Granada should not be too concerned; due to their participation in Spain’s La Liga, they undoubtedly have greater depth in quality throughout their squad than Molde. Further, Granada only need to avoid conceding two goals to win, and so Molde’s missing parties will be a sorer loss on the balance of things.

High stakes

Whilst the result may seem like a foregone conclusion, Molde should remain steadfast in their approach. The odds that are stacked against them are counter-balanced by the monumental achievement that potentially awaits them, should they produce another upset, as has been in their character already this season.

Molde’s foray into this stage of the Europa League is unprecedented, and so, to reach the last 8, a stage of the competition populated only by teams with great quality, will be perhaps the club’s greatest achievement to date.

Of course, that statement is open to debate, but at the very least, it will definitely be etched in the club’s history as a moment of immense merit.

Source: #Norway Today

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