Five scorer shouts for Valencia v Monaco in Champions League play-offs
Valencia’s meeting with Monaco sounds more like a business end battle in the Champions League of yesteryear than a play-off round clash guaranteeing only one entry into this season’s group stage.
That notwithstanding, there are a number of young, bright attacking talents set to take centre stage for the first leg at the Mestalla on Wednesday, August 19th. Coral football experts have got their heads together, and give a brief profile of such rising stars to keep tabs on below.
Spain striker Paco has already proven that he packs a punch with Los Che after being their top scorer in the last two seasons. Still just 21, he has four in six caps for La Roja. At a fabulous 4/1 to break the deadlock on home turf, punters must consider this flowering forward talent.
Diminutive Belgium cap and teenage winger Bakkali is a new arrival for Bats boss Nuno Espirito Santo this summer, having left Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven on a free. Breaking into their first-team at 17 was a huge achievement, and hinted as his massive potential. Valencia boast such brilliance now, however, and Bakkali is 14/5 to cap what will be his competitive bow for them with a goal anytime.
Portugal forward Cavaleiro is an attacking acquisition made by Monaco this summer after his exploits with the Under-21s at the UEFA European Championship in his age bracket this summer in the Czech Republic. Flexible enough to play anywhere across the frontline, he has already scored for Leonardo Jardim’s team in Europe. Cavaleiro is a tasty 10/3 to net again in this play-off first leg.
Perhaps Monaco’s marquee signing of this transfer window, though, is the loan capture of Italy attacker El Shaarawy. Still only 22, the AC Milan-owned left-footer also scored against Young Boys Berne in the last qualifying round. Odds of 8/1 say El Shaarawy shall score first.
Front-foot runner Martial was magnificent against Arsenal in the last 16 in 2014/15, and has already built on 11 goals in that season by striking in this term’s Champions League qualifiers. Destined for a more prominent role at Monaco under Jardim now that Dimitar Berbatov has moved on, the 19-year-old is one for Los Che defenders to mark carefully. Martial is 13/5 to net anytime at the Mestalla.