After having their weekend off due to fixtures being postponed because of Queen Elizabeth II’s death, a few SPFL teams are back in action in Europe this week for Matchday 2.
Matchday 1 did not go well for the three Scottish Clubs competing in Europe. Both Celtic and Rangers lost their Champions League openers. Celtic lost 3-0 to Real Madrid and Rangers lost 4-0 to Ajax. Then on Thursday, Hearts lost 4-0 at Tynecastle in the UEFA Europa Conference League to Istanbul Başakşehir.
This week, Celtic, Rangers and Hearts look for better results as each side is looking to pick up their first points of the group stages.
On Wednesday, Celtic match up against the Ukrainian Champions, Shakhtar Donetsk, while Rangers host Napoli at Ibrox. On Thursday, Hearts take on RFS in Latvia.
SPFL clubs look for better results on Matchday 2
Here is a quick preview of each match of the second matchday in Europe with a focus on the opposition’s run of form.
Due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, Shakhtar Donetsk are forced to play their European matches in Poland at Legia Warsaw’s stadium.
Shakhtar started the group stages exceptionally well as they demolished RB Leipzig 4-1 in Germany. Former Celtic player Marian Shved scored the opening two goals for Shakhtar in that game.
Over the past weekend, Shakhtar had a comeback win over Chornomorets Odesa. They were trailing 2-0 with 20 minutes left in the game and Shved scored the equalizer in the 74th minute and then Oleh Ocheretko scored a dramatic stoppage time winner in the 96th minute.
Originally, this match was scheduled for Tuesday evening, but due to the Queen’s death, it was pushed back 24 hours. No Napoli supporters will be allowed at this fixture due to the security situation in Scotland. Therefore, no Rangers supporters will be allowed to attend Rangers’ match in Italy against Napoli on Matchday 5.
Napoli has been outstanding this season. They currently sit in a tie for first place in Serie A with Atalanta and Milan on 14 points through six games. On Matchday 1, they beat Liverpool 4-1 in Naples, then followed that up with a 1-0 win this past Saturday versus Spezia, courtesy of a Giacomo Raspadori 89th minute winner.
In their three domestic away matches this campaign, Napoli has two wins and one draw.
RFS (Latvia) 0-1-0 | Hearts 0-0-1
Thursday, Sept 14 | 8 PM BST (3 PM ET) | LNK Sporta Parks
Hearts head to the Latvian capital to take on FK Rīgas Futbola Skola, or “RFS” for short. This match pits the third place side in the SPFL against the third place side in the Latvian Higher League.
The Latvian League runs on a summer schedule rather than the winter schedule the SPFL runs on, therefore RFS are coming into the tail end of their 2022 campaign. They won the Latvian League in 2021 and qualified for the Conference League in the playoff round on penalties versus Linfield.
RFS are longshots to win the title this season as they come into Matchday 28 of their league campaign, 10 points behind lead leaders Valmiera with nine games left. Although the title looks out of hand for RFS, they still are in a battle for European qualification places.
RFS pulled off a great result on Matchday 1 as they tied Fiorentina 1-1 on the road. Fiorentina had an astonishing 32 attempted shots, but only nine were on target, and they had 76% possession. RFS’ defense looked strong and calm under pressure as they pulled off a draw in Italy.
It should be a fun to watch Matchday 2 in European Football and you can find where to watch all of these matches featuring SPFL teams in Europe by clicking the link here.