Başakşehir, Konyaspor determined to seal Conference League spots

Başakşehir will hit the road to face Israel’s Maccabi Netanya while Konyaspor hosts Belarus’ BATE Borisov on Thursday as the Turkish Süper Lig sides look to seal their places in the Europa Conference League third qualifying round.

Istanbul-based Başakşehir, who finished the Süper Lig as fourth in the 2021-22 season, must win the match against its Israeli opponent after settling for a 1-1 draw at home last week.

The Turkish side has reinvented itself under new manager Emre Belözoğlu, who took over in October 2021. The club has won 17 out of 32 games while drawing 10 and losing only five under the player-turned-coach. This will be Başakşehir’s second European game under Belözoğlu.

Başakşehir does not have any major injury concerns but will be without its latest signing Mesut Özil, who joined the team early last week from Fenerbahçe.

In case of a draw, the match will go into extra time, followed by a penalty shootout, if need be.

The winner of the qualifying round will face the winner of the match between Iceland’s Breidablik and Montenegro’s Buducnost Podgorica in the third qualifying round.

The match in Netanya, Israel, will be officiated by Croatian referee Dario Bel and start at 7:45 p.m. (4:45 p.m. GMT). The match will be telecast live on state broadcaster TRT Spor.

Konya comfortable

Compared to Başakşehir, Konyaspor already has a foot in the next round after securing a 3-0 win over BATE in the first leg.

Konyaspor, which finished third in the Turkish top-tier last season under Ilhan Palut, has already shown its intent to continue on its path to the Conference League group stages.

The win in the first leg was only a second in Europe for Konyaspor. However, the central Anatolian side is in an advantageous position to pick up a third victory since BATE Borisov has been forced by UEFA to play both legs in Turkey due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

After playing to empty stands in the first match, Konyaspor fans will return for the second leg which will further boost the host side’s chances.

Konyaspor, however, will be without Uğurcan Yazğılı who saw a red card halfway through the first game.

The match at Konya Metropolitan Stadium will kick off at 9 p.m. (6 p.m. GMT) and will be officiated by Serbian referee Novak Simovic.

The winner of the second qualifying round will take on the winner of the match between Slovenia’s Koper and Liechtenstein’s Vaduz in the third qualifying round.

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