Linfield will be looking to overturn a two-goal deficit when they travel to Switzerland to face FC Zurich at Stadion Letzigrund for the second leg of their Europa League third-round qualifier on Thursday. The winners of this tie will face Scottish outfit Hearts in the playoff round later this month in a bid to progress to the Europa League group stage.
After failing to win any of their opening five competitive matches of the new season, FC Zurich claimed their first victory when they beat Linfield 2-0 at Windsor Park in the first leg last week. Tosin Aiyegun opened the scoring for the visitors in the eighth minute, before Italy international Wilfried Gnonto doubled their lead with a strike midway through the second half.
Franco Foda’s side, who have dropped down into the Europa League qualifiers after losing 5-4 on aggregate to Qarabag in Champions League Qualifying, have moved one step closer to reaching their first group stage of any major European competition since the 2016-17 campaign. Zurich have since followed up their win in Belfast with a disappointing 3-0 home defeat against Sion, in the Swiss Super League last weekend.
FC Zurich Europa League form:
FC Zurich form (all competitions):
Linfield Europa League form:
Linfield form (all competitions):
As for Linfield, Healy made 11 changes for last weekend’s game against Crusaders, but he is expected to revert back to a similar starting lineup to the one named for the first leg against Zurich.
FC Zurich possible starting lineup:
Brecher; Boranijasevic, Kamberi, Kryeziu, Aliti; Selnaes, Conde; Gnonto, Marchesano, Okita; Aiyegun
Linfield possible starting lineup:
Johns; Shields, Hall, Roscoe; Finlayson, Fallon, McClean, Mulgrew, Clarke; McDaid, Millar