Category Archives: EUROPA LEAGUE






SKN ST. PÖLTEN vs. PSV (18:00 BST)

After Thursday PSV will have qualified for the fourth qualifying round Europa League competition. However, it will not be as easy as many would have thought it would. Lawk Raoof suggests you read this preview to know why it won’t be easy to win.

PSV won the first game home with a marginal 1-0 against Austria newcomer Sportklub Niederösterreich St. Pölten. After a goal from Luuk de Jong who has immediately re-paid some of his summer transfer fee with a crucial goal. However, the Austrians have proven themselves to be physical strong and well-organised and ff there is something that PSV lacks is to play good against well-organized teams, especially without World Cup stars Georginio Wijnaldum & Memphis Depay. This explains the minimal 1-0 win but don’t worry these key-players have had one week of training and will highly likely be deployed as substitutes during the game to pull the game in favor of PSV.

With St. Pölten having 8,000 supporters backing them up and having the home-advantage, I can see PSV winning the game with only a 2-1 scoreline. For some people this is no disappointing outcome, however PSV is a top team and should walk all over the Austrians with at least four or five goals. However, missing key-players in every line it is obvious that Philip Cocu needs to pull everything out of the closet to make this win.

The most likely formation is: Zoet (GK), Tamata (LB), Hendrix (CB), Bruma (CB), Brenet (RB), Hiljemark (CDM), Wijnaldum (CDM), Maher (AM), Locadia (LF), De Jong (CF), Narsingh (RF)

I recommend placing a small stake at Bet Victor on PSV to win 2-1 at 15/2. Cocu’s men will explode out of the blocks and hit a wall like they did in the first game. However, considering the World Cup players are back and Depay and Santiago Arias can be used as aces when it turns bad Cocu should win this game.

BEST BET: PSV to win 2-1 (15/2 – Bet Victor)


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PSV may rue the missing opportunities inside the Philips Stadion tonight as they will travel to Austria next week with a slender 1-0 lead over SKN St Pölten.

Philip Cocu chose a young side to face the Austrian Eerst Liga side with new signing Luuk de Jong spearheading the attack. Jeroen Zoet started in goal with an inexperienced back-four of Joshua Brenet, Jorrit Hendrix, Jeffrey Bruma and Abel Tamata ahead of him. In midfield, Oskar Hiljemark, Adam Maher and Marcel Ritzmaier lined up, with the latter returning from a successful period on loan at Cambuur last year. On the wings supporting De Jong saw Luciano Narsingh and Jurgen Locadia looking to supply the chances.

Although a young eleven was selected, the expectations inside the Philips Stadion was that PSV would send St. Polten back home with a hiding. That did not materialise. The Austrians arrived well organised and out to stifle the Eredivisie giants and stifle they did.

PSV could not get the ball into the box without an Austrian head or foot booting it away. No matter how much possession the hosts had they were unable to test the St. Polten goalkeeper Patrick Kostner. The major threats, ironically came from PSV’s Austrian midfielder Ritzmaier but he could not get his efforts from outside of the box on target.

After the team went into the break goal-less, PSV emerged with a grip on the game and the opening goal finally came on 56 minutes. Luciano Narsingh weaved some magic and placed a pin-point accurate ball to the back post where Luuk de Jong was waiting to head home.

Unable to add a second goal, it got worse late on for PSV. Stupidly, substitute Florain Jozefzoon received a double booking within four minutes by referee Slavko Vinčić for diving.

PSV head to Austria next week with the goal advantage and will need to improve if they wish to comfortably enter the next round.


PSV: Zoet, Brenet, Bruma, Hendrix, Tamata, Maher, Hiljemark, Ritzmaier (Vloet 78), Narsingh (Jozefzoon 72), De Jong, Locadia.

SUBS NOT USED: Pasveer, Koch, Leemans, De Wijs, Boljevic.

GOALS: De Jong 56.

BOOKINGS: De Jong 80, Jozefzoon 90.

SENT OFF: Jozefzoon 90+3.

ST. POLTEN: Kostner, Huber, Wislo, Grasegger, Holzmann (Ambichi 65), Stec, Parada Calvillo, Kerschbaumer, Hofbauer, Segovia (Noel 76), Fucik (Hartl 46).

SUBS NOT USED: Riegler, Brandl, Schibany, Hayden.

GOALS: None.

BOOKINGS: Segovia 30.


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PSV vs. SKN ST. PÖLTEN (18:00 BST)

Philip Cocu’s PSV should have no trouble disposing Austrian side St. Pölten, a team the Eindhoven side ironically defeated 1-0 away in a friendly with a very under strengthen squad earlier this month.

The Austrians do not play in the top flight and last season qualified for Europe for the first time. Qualification was gained by reaching the Austrian Cup final and although they were defeated 4-2 by Red Bull Salzburg, due to Salzburg winning the Austrian Bundesliga and competing in the Champions League this season, they find themselves in the Europa League qualifying stages. In the last round, they defeated Botev Plovdiv of Bulgaria over the two legs. Losing the first leg 2–1 but overcoming the Bulgarians 2-0 in the second leg to win 3-2 on aggregate.

To give them their full name, Sportklub Niederösterreich St. Pölten play in the Erste Liga and should prove no threat to PSV over the two legs. In fact for this first leg game, Bet Victor has them as major underdogs to win the match at 12/1.

I recommend placing a small stake on PSV to win 4-0 at 11/1 with Bet Victor. Cocu’s men will explode out of the blocks and as always, play the attacking style they are accustom to. Although, Cocu will be without World Cup stars, Santiago Arias, Georginio Wijnaldum and Memphis Depay, they have enough firepower to blow the Austrians away.

New signing from Mönchengladbach, Luuk de Jong, will be look to notch on his full debut at the Philips Stadion if he selected ahead of Jürgen Locadia. Sitting behind the striker will be Adam Maher, Oskar Hijlemark and Stijn Schaars who are all capable of scoring goals. Marcel Ritzmaier, himself an Austrian, may push for a start ahead of one of those three, after returning from a successful period on loan at SC Cambuur last year.

Another competent goal getter, Florian Jozefzoon should start on the right-wing with 20-year-old Mohamed Rayhi and 18-year-old Montenegrin Aleksandar Boljević vying for the right-wing slot after impressing in friendlies.

With a back four boasting Dutch internationals Jeffrey Bruma and Jetro Willems, in the midst of Jeroen Zoet in goal, St. Pölten will find it hard unearthing the PSV net.

BEST BET: PSV to win 4-0 (11/1 – Bet Victor)


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EUROPA LEAGUE: FC Groningen 1-2 Aberdeen






Aberdeen win 2-1 on aggregate

FC Groningen crash out of the Europa League at their first hurdle after Derek McInnes led his Aberdeen side to a 2-1 win thanks to first half goals through frontmen Adam Rooney and Niall McGinn.

It was an exciting start to the game inside the Euroborg and the hosts were unlucky not be ahead after just four minutes. From a Nick van der Velden corner, Johan Kappelhof rose above everyone at the back post but Aberdeen’s Jonny Hayes nodded off the line.

A few minutes later, Groningen had another golden opportunity to grab the lead but Serbian attacker Filip Kostic dragged his shot wide after he had worked hard to get himself through on goal.

The game slowed down until 24 minutes when Peter Pawlett, tricky throughout, jinked his way into the box and Brazilian defender Eric Botteghin clumsy tripped the striker. Polish referee Daniel Stefanski pointed straight to the spot and Adam Rooney sent Sergio Padt the opposite way to give the Dons the lead.

Rooney was involved in the second goal on 33 minutes. The striker held off the challenge of Kappelhof and lobbed Padt but the ball clipped the cross bar and bounced out. The Groningen defence were statuesque as they waited for the foul on Kappelhof to be awarded. Niall McGinn pounced on the rebound to slot past the keeper to double Aberdeen’s advantage.

The home side were given a lifeline just before half-time as a pin point accurate cross from Nick van der Velden found Maikel Kieftenbeld at the back post to power a header past Jamie Langfield who will be disappointed after getting a hand to it.

At half-time, Edwin van der Looi replaced the ineffective Danny Hoesen and Maikel Kieftenbeld with attacking pairing of Jarchinio Antonia and Michael De Leeuw to take the game to Aberdeen.

Just past the hour mark, Aberdeen had Langfield to thank for keeping the 2-1 advantage. After a great touch and flick into De Leeuw from Van der Velden, the substitute looked destined to grab the equaliser but the veteran keeper rushed out and forced the ball away with his feet. The groans around the Euroborg were drowning out the cheers from the 1,100 travelling Aberdeen fans.

Those travelling supporters had a massive sign of relief when Kostic worked his magic down the left wing and drove a low cross into the box. With De Leeuw arriving at the back post, Mark Reynolds got across to stick a leg out and force the ball behind for a corner. Replays showed that Reynolds was very lucky not to push the ball into his own net.

The hosts began pushing knowing they needed to two goals to send their fans home happy. However, the Eredivisie side were halted by the wall of red shirts and Groningen were reduced to long range efforts which Langfield kept at bay.

At the full-time whistle the Euroborg ended disappointed and the strife of the Europa League playoffs for Groningen last season came to no avail. Aberdeen progress to play La Liga side Real Sociedad in the third qualifying round to face last season’s Eredivisie top scorer, Alfred Finnbogason.


FC GRONINGEN: Padt, Hateboer, Botteghin, Kappelhof, Burnet (Van Nieff 62), Kieftenbeld (Antonia 46), Chery, Lindgren, Van der Velden, Hoesen (De Leeuw 46), Kostic.

SUBS NOT USED: Van der Vlag, Magnasco, Hiariej, Islamovic.

GOALS: Kieftenbeld 44.

BOOKINGS: Lindgren 63.

ABERDEEN: Langfield, Logan, Anderson, Reynolds, Considine, Jack, Flood (Low 90), McGinn, Hayes, Pawlett (Robson 66), Rooney (Goodwillie 74).

SUBS NOT USED: Brown, Murray, Taylor, Smith, Robson.

GOALS: Rooney 26P, McGinn 33.

BOOKINGS: Hayes 72.


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EUROPA LEAGUE PREVIEW: FC Groningen vs. Aberdeen






WhiScottish Police are set to travel with Aberdeen fans to the Netherlands in an effort to control any trouble before and after the second qualifying round Europa League match-up against FC Groningen. There is expected to be some fireworks on the field as both teams try to qualify for the third round qualifying game to be played at the end of the month.

Groningen will be favorites having held the Dons to a scoreless draw in the first leg, at Pittodrie. The Scottish outfit have new summer signing David Goodwillie to call upon with an eye on finding a goal to see them through. Aberdeen will have to curb the influence of the Dutch side’s talisman, Filip Kostic, if they are to stand a chance and forcing playmaker Tjaronn Cherry to cough up possession will be key for the visitors.

You can expect Groningen to take the game to their opponents and expect Danny Hoesen to be a force up front for the hosts.

FC Groningen have not played a role in Europe since 2007 and they will be looking to make sure they will progress to play Real Sociedad in the third qualifying round of the competition. Groningen should win this tie but Aberdeen should make it tough so the bet to look for should be Groningen to win with Both Teams To Score, which Bet Victor offer at a great 13/5.

BEST BET: FC Groningen win with Both Teams To Score (13/5 – BET VICTOR) – Click here to bet with BET VICTOR and receive up to £25 free bets for new customers.


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EUROPA LEAGUE: Aberdeen 0-0 FC Groningen






FC Groningen travelled to Aberdeen and fought out a 0-0 draw at the Pittodrie Stadium in the first leg of their Europa League second qualifying round tie.

FC Groningen blijft doelpuntloos tegen Aberdeen

Groningen named two new signings in their starting line-up, with former Ajax striker Danny Hoesen and goalkeeper Sergio Padt making their debuts.

The hosts created the best openings against skilful opponents who made up for their lack of speed in the team with some no-nonsense tactics at time. They were opened up on several occasions but showed enough glimpses in possession to suggest it will be a very tough test for the Scottish side in the Euroberg Stadium in seven days time.

In the first-half, Aberdeen had an appeal for a penalty rejected when captain Russell Anderson felt he was fouled in the box, with Portuguese referee Hugo Filipe waved away protests from the Dons players. And with the first half clock ticking down, Groningen almost sneaked a crucial away goal just before the half-time whistle.

Attacking left-back Hans Hateboar got the better of Jonny Hayes down the right-hand side, his cutback was deflected off Aberdeen centre-back Mark Reynolds, but Langfield was on hand to save the defender’s blushes. The loose ball then fell to Hoesen, who from an acute angle was unable to get on target.

The second half began to get a bit heated with Peter Pawlett and Hayes continuing to be the victim of unfair challenges. Groningen saw two players cautioned as tempers began to flare, first Nick van der Velden received a booking for a challenge on Hayes, while Johan Kappelhof picked up a yellow for a foul on midfielder Ryan Jack.

In the closing stages, it was Groningen once again who almost got that all important away goal. The two substitutes Jarchinio Antonia and Dino Islamovic linked up well, with the later flashing a shot the wrong side of Langfield’s near post.


ABERDEEN: Langfield, Logan, Anderson, Reynolds, Hayes, Jack, Flood, Robson, Pawlett (Low 89), McGinn, Rooney (Goodwillie 76).

SUBS NOT USED: Brown, Taylor, Considine, Smith, Wright.

GOALS: None.


FC GRONINGEN: Padt, Hateboer, Botteghin, Kappelhof, Burnet, Lindgren, Kieftenbeld, Chery, Van der Velden (Islamovic 82), Hoesen (Antonia 65), Kostic.

SUBS NOT USED: Van der Vlag, Magnasco, Van Nieff, Hiariej, De Leeuw.

GOALS: None.

BOOKINGS: Hateboer, Lindgren, Kieftenbeld, Van der Velden.


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EUROPA LEAGUE REPORT: Benfica 2-0 AZ Alkmaar






Benfica win 3-0 on agg.

Two back-post finishes from Rodrigo lead Benfica to a final four spot in the Europa League defeating Dick Advocaat’s AZ Alkmaar 2-0 to by three goals on aggregate.

Benfica-AZ highlights

The hosts took the lead in the 37th minute as Rodrigo got his first tapping home from six-yards out after being teed up by Eduardo Salvio. The young Argentine winger almost doubled the lead just before the interval but Salvio’s strike from inside the area drew a fine stop from AZ goalkeeper Esteban Alvardo.

It took 65 minutes before AZ got their first chance of a goal through full-back Mattias Johansson, the Swede’s effort from distance forced Artur Guilherme De Morães Gusmão into a fine save. Seven minutes later and Rodrigo stuck the final nail in AZ’s coffin with a comfortable finish from close range after getting on the end of another Salvio’s cross.

The visitors failed to trouble Benfica throughout, and left the competition where they had starred so brilliantly all season with a whimper.


BENFICA: Artur, Silvio (Almeida 4), Luisao, Garay, Siqueira, Sulejmani (Marković 70), Gomes, Fejsa (Pérez 64), Salvio, Cardozo, Rodrigo.

SUBS NOT USED: Lopes, Jardel, Djuričić, Lima.

GOALS: Rodrigo 39, 71.

BOOKINGS: Salvio 31, Andre Gomes 73.

AZ: Esteban, Johansson, Gouweleeuw, Wuytens, Viergever, Gudelj, Ortiz (Henriksen 79), Elm, Berghuis (Gudmundsson 77), Jóhannsson, Beerens (Haye 77).

SUBS NOT USED: De Winter, Reijnen, Gorter, Avdic.

GOALS: None.

BOOKINGS: Berghuis 23.


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Dick Advocaat takes his side to Lisbon on Thursday night to face a Benfica side that have not lost a European game at home in the last 11 attempts, and have won their last five games at home against Dutch opposition.

A third Europa League semi-final in four years is in touching distance for Jorge Jesus’ men as the Primeira Liga leaders go into their quarter-final second-leg with a 1-0 advantage.

All history aside for the Portuguese side, the Eredivisie club should not be underestimated as although they may not have reached the semi-finals of a European tournament since 2004-05, they currently hold an undefeated six game streak in European away matches.

Domestically, AZ have only one win from their last seven matches in all competitions, the visitors are on a poor run of form and drew 2-2 against by relegation contenders Roda JC on Sunday afternoon. Benfica on the other hand, are in fine form with just once defeat since last November.

Although, the hosts are without suspended duo Nicolas Gaitán and Maximiliano Pereira after the pair reached their booking limits last time out, they do welcome back midfielder Enzo Perez after he sat out the first leg for the same reason.

AZ are struggling to find the net as of late, scoring only six goals in the last eight games in all competitions, I can see Benfica winning and keeping a clean sheet. Bet Victor are offering 6/5 for Benfica to win to nil and this is our best bet in this match.

BEST BET: Benfica to win to nil (6/5 – Bet Victor)


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AZ Alkmaar narrowly fall to Benfica


Thursday 3rd April 2014



AZ resiliently battled Portuguese giants Benfica but lost by the single goal in the first leg clash of their last 8 Europa League tie.

The Dutch began the game as outsiders but the first 45 minutes saw AZ create the greater amount of chances and enjoying the majority of play. Wingers Roy Beerens and Steven Berghuis were the main threats with the former shooting narrowly wide after five minutes. The in-form Berghuis and his powerful long-range shooting called Benfica goalkeeper Artur into action twice but the stopper held firm and kept his clean sheet in tact.

After the goal-less first half, Benfica took the lead three minutes after the restart. AZ’s goalkeeper Esteban Alvarado rushed out to meet the ball at the feet of striker Oscar Cardozo. The Costa Rican diverted the Paraguayan’s effort away but it ended up landing perfectly for Argentine winger Eduardo Salvio to scissor-kick the ball into the net.

As Benfica had the advantage, the Portuguese looked likely to extend the score and but failed to do so. Cardozo was involved again and had an opportunity to bury AZ minutes later but he fluffed his lines and screwed his low drive wide.

AZ would hit on the break and midfielder Viktor Elm had a wonderful chance to level the game up but he headed tamely into Artur’s arms. However, it was end to end stuff as Rodrigo immediately went up the opposite end and in a horrendous miss, the striker stabbed Argentine defender Ezequiel Garay’s header high over the bar from yards out.

Looking tired as the time went on, Dick Advocaat’s side never managed to match the confidence they displayed in the opening half and only a fine double save from Esteban, denying substitute Lima and then André Gomes, prevented the tie to be over.

AZ now require a major upset in Lisbon if their European odyssey is to continue into the final four but holding this Benfica side down to just one goal must give them a slight glimmer of hope.


AZ: Esteban, Johansson, Gouweleeuw, Viergever, Poulsen (Gudmundsson 49), Gudelj (Henriksen 81), Ortiz, Elm, Berghuis, Jóhannsson, Beerens.

SUBS NOT USED: De Winter, Reijnen, Hoedt, Gorter, Avdic.

GOALS: None.

BOOKINGS: Johansson 78.

BENFICA: Artur, Maxi Pereira, Luisao, Garay, Siqueira, Salvio, Rúben Amorim (André Almeida 39), Gaitán, André Gomes, Cardozo, Rodrigo (Markovic 77).

SUBS NOT USED: Oblak, Jardel, Sulejmani, Djuričić, Lima.

GOALS: Salvio 48.

BOOKINGS: Gaitan 61, Siqueria 89, Salvio 90+2, Maxi Pereira 90+5.


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Thursday 3rd April 2014



AZ Alkmaar face the huge task of getting past Portuguese giants Benfica, who have a great history against Dutch clubs in Europe.

The Portuguese champions have only experienced one defeat in the last ten games over teams from the Netherlands and it was a penalty-shootout loss to Guus Hiddink’s PSV in the European Cup of 1988/89. On the other hand, in the past AZ have a great record against clubs from Portugal, defeating Sporting Braga and Sporting Lisbon while holding Pacos de Ferreira to a draw.

Jorge Jesus’s Benfica defeated Tottenham Hotspur to progress, and will be arrive in Alkmaar confident of reaching the semis, after being victorious in 25 of their last 29 matches in all competitions. Domestically, Dick Advocaat’s men are in poor form with just one win from their last five games and European football may be out of reach next season unless they can win the Eredivisie Europa League play-offs. They currently sit in seventh in the Dutch top flight, although they would qualify for this tournament again, if they could pull of the unlikely achievement of winning it.

AZ are struggling to score goals and there was just the one goal over Alkmaar’s two legs against Anzhi in the last round, and that was a penalty kick. The Dutch side however, will certainly face a tougher test against the Portuguese league leaders are likely to have too much quality for their hosts, though Advocaat will ask his side to defend deep to ensure they have something to play for in the second leg.

Our best bet would seem to be Benfica to win but keep a clean sheet and Bet Victor are offering a massive 2/1 which is a price we cannot ignore.

BEST BET: Benfica to win to nil (2/1 – Bet Victor)


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AZ hold Anzhi to progress to last eight


Thursday 20th March 2014



AZ win 1-0 on aggregate

AZ Alkmaar are in the hat for Friday’s Europa League quarter-final draw after a stalemate in Moscow tonight. Dick Advocaat’s men 1-0 win last week at the AFAS Stadion was enough to send the Dutch side through to last eight.

The Russians produced plenty of clever play but were unable to provide a goal and failed to get a shot on target throughout the ninety minutes. Advocaat obviously instructed his AZ side to protect their 1-0 lead from the first leg as they were happy to sit back and defend.

As Anzhi pressed, AZ grew in stature as the first-half progressed and might have gone in front just before the break when a Nemanja Gudelj free-kick smashed against a post. The in-form Steven Berghuis went close soon after the interval, with Aron Jóhannsson then calling goalkeeper Mikhail Kerzhakov into action.

Anzhi started to fade as the clock ticked down, but they nearly scored an unlikely leveller when Oleksandr Aliyev whistled a 25-metre free-kick narrowly wide.

Anzhi’s night ended on a sour note as Berghuis broke through on goal and with the goal at his mercy, Karlen Mkrtchyan had to commit the foul. As he was the last man he received a straight red.

AZ go into the draw with European giants like Juventus, FC Porto and Benfica but will hope to draw avoid those three to give themselves a great chance of progressing to the semis.


ANZHI: Kerzhakov, Grigalava, Epureanu, Gadzhibekov, Sobolev (Serderov 71), Agalarov (Abdulavov 85), Mkrtchyan, Aliyev, Burmistrov (Eschenko 68), Smolov, Bukharov.

SUBS NOT USED: Pomazan, Dzhenetov, Angbwa.

GOALS: None.

BOOKINGS: Griglava 43, Sobelev 69, Agalarov 81, Aliyev 85.

SENT OFF: Mkrtchyan 90+3.

AZ: Esteban, Johansson, Reijnen, Wuytens, Viergever, Poulsen, Gudelj, Berghuis, Elm; Jóhannsson, Beerens.

SUBS NOT USED: De Winter, Hoedt, Gorter, Ortiz, Henriksen, Gudmundsson, Avdic.

GOALS: None.

BOOKINGS: Wuytens 62.


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Advocaat to the stands as AZ take 1-0 win


Thursday 13th March 2014


AZ Alkmaar have a 1-0 advantage over Russian Premier League side Anzhi Makhachkala in the race to reach the last eight of the Europa League. The Alkmaar side can thank the heroics of goalkeeper Esteban Alvarado after head coach Dick Advocaat was dismissed after leacing his technical area in an argument with Italian referee Daniele Orsato.

American striker Aron Jóhannsson just managed to convert a first-half penalty past Anzhi stopper Mikhail Kerzhakov to settle the match, but AZ withstood relentless pressure from the Russians. Advocaat’s men relied on a first-rate performance from their keeper Esteban to preserve their unbeaten run in this season’s competition and secure a slender lead to take to Russia next week.

The visitors came close to opening the scoring after an in the area scramble after quarter of an hour. Esteban was left prone after reacting to Aleksandr Bukharov’s blocked shot, and Fedor Smolov headed the rebound firmly back over the Costa Rican goalkeeper. Refusing to be beaten, though, the AZ number one scrambled to his feet, palmed the looping header upwards as he crashed to the ground, then clawed the dropping ball away before it could cross the line. It was an amazing save that lifted the roof of the AFAS Stadion.

The goal came just before the half-hour when Ali Gadzhibekov’s flailing arm cost his side a spot-kick and while Kerzhakov got two hands to Aron Jóhannsson‘s spot-kick, the ball bounced agonisingly over the line.

Alkmaar’s crossbar got some punishment from a free-kick by Olexandr Aliyev from 35 yards out, and Esteban stuck out a palm to deflect Bukharov’s close-range shot as the hosts stole a half-time lead against a desperately frustrated Anzhi.

After the interval, normal play resumed and Anzhi exploded out of the blocks in search of an equaliser with Aliyev worrying Esteban with another long-range free-kick, before substitute Nikita Burmistrov’s downward header tested the keeper’s positioning at the back stick with the keeper coming out on top.

Anzhi’s will wilted as the contest wore on AZ will take the slender lead to take to Russia next week. Meanwhile, Advocaat will not be present on the touchline as he faces a one-match ban by UEFA.


AZ: Esteban, Johansson, Gouweleeuw, Viergever, Poulsen (Wuytens 45), Gudelj, Ortiz, Elm, Berghuis (Gudmundsson 24), Jóhannsson, Beerens.

SUBS NOT USED: De Winter, Reijnen, Henriksen, Gorter, Avdic

GOALS: Jóhannsson 29.

BOOKINGS: Gouweleeuw 34, Wuytens 58.

ANZHI: Kerzhakov, Angbwa, Ewerton (Burmistrov 45), Gadzhibekov, Eschenko, Aliyev (Serderov 71), Mkrtchyan, Epureanu, Ahmedov, Smolov, Bukharov (Abdulavov 86).

SUBS NOT USED: Pomazan, Agalarov, Sobolev.

GOALS: None.

BOOKINGS: Ewerton 20, Ahmedov 66, Epureanu 74. 


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Ajax eliminated as AZ progress


Ajax are eliminated after tasting another defeat at the hands of Red Bull Salzburg, meanwhile, AZ Alkmaar held Slovan Liberec to a draw to continue on into the Last 16.

Thursday 27th February 2014



(Salzburg win 6-1 on agg)

Ajax ended up conceding another three goals to crash out at the expense of a far superior Red Bull Salzburg side over the two legs. The Austrians now go on to face a last 16 tie against Swiss champions FC Basel.

Salzburg turn on style to see off Ajax

Salzburg coach Roger Schmidt named an unchanged side that inflicted a 3-0 defeat onto Frank de Boer’s side last Thursday. As the Ajax coach saw the game as an opportunity to rest some players for Sunday’s De Klassieker. He left usual central defensive pairing Joël Veltman and Niclas Moisander on the bench with Mike van der Hoorn and Stefano Denswil starting.

The hosts dominated the early proceedings and had a golden opportunity to go in front after just 11 minutes in. Brazilian striker Alan lofted a perfect ball over the Ajax defence as Kevin Kampl beat the offside trap with a wonderful run. Bearing down on goal with the ball still bouncing, the Slovenian midfielder defeated the on-rushing Jasper Cillessen with a chip. Unfortunately for Kampl, the ball bounced back up onto the crossbar as Denswil headed the rebound away.

The Austrians kept pressing and in the 17th minute, Alan should have given Salzburg the lead. The Brazilian scored a second-half hat-trick at the weekend against Admira, but after he was put through by a defence-splitting Christoph Leitgeb ball, the striker dragged his shot wide.

Ajax has created their first real chance on 22 minutes after some good work down the right wing from full-back Ricardo van Rhijn. The Dutch international whipped a great ball in for Kolbeinn Sigthórsson at the front post, and after the Icelander got in front of Andre Ramalho, goalkeeper Péter Gulácsi tipped the ball wide.

Salzburg full-back Andreas Ulmer was causing trouble down the left and on 35 minutes, he flashed a shot across the goal from an acute angle after outsprinting Christian Poulsen. Minutes later, at the other end, Lesley de Sa in a similar move, forced a save out of Gulácsi but eventually the teams went in at half-time goal-less.

Ten minutes after the restart, the scoring opened and it was an unfortunate own goal from Mike van der Hoorn. Jonathan Soriano, smashed a low cross into the box and the big defender tried to cut it out but diverted it straight into Cillessen’s path. The Dutch international goalkeeper failed to get a grip of the ball and spilled it into the goal to give Salzburg the 1-0 lead.

The lead was doubled ten minutes later with Sadio Mané latched on yet another Leitgeb through ball and due to Denswil giving the Senegalese striker far too much space, he sprinted on and finished past Cillessen in style. The young defender should have been a lot sharper and tighter to the striker.

In the 77th minute, Jonathan Soriano could not miss after he laid on a plate by Mané. After Ulmer had robbed De Sa of the ball high up the pitch, the left-back played in the Senegalese striker who fired a ball to the back post where the Spaniard could tap home with ease. All too easy for Salzburg.

Davy Klaassen notched a consolation goal for the Amsterdammers but it they were once again swept away by the Austrian Bundesliga leaders. A bad result for Dutch double as their strongest team head of the competition at last 32 stage.

De Boer will now head to Rotterdam on Sunday to face Ronald Koeman’s Feyenoord, who will have seen more weaknesses unveiled by Salzburg to prey on.


SALZBURG: Gulácsi, Schwegler (Klein 89), Ulmer (Svento 79), Hinteregger, Ramalho, Mané, Ilsanker, Leitgeb, Kampl, Soriano, Alan (Zulj 73).

SUBS NOT USED: Walke, Meilinger, Schiemer, Berisha.

GOALS: Van der Hoorn 56OG, Mané 66, Soriano 77.

BOOKINGS: Ramalho 43.

AJAX: Cillessen, Van Rhijn, Van der Hoorn, Denswil, Blind, Poulsen (Riedewald 63), De Jong (Bojan 63), Klaassen, Duarte (Andersen 78), Sigthórsson, De Sa.

SUBS NOT USED: Vermeer, Veltman, Moisander, Kishna.

GOALS: Klaassen 82.

BOOKINGS: Poulsen 27, Denswil 48.



(AZ win 2-1 on agg)

Dick Advocaat’s AZ Alkmaar had no problem reaching the last 16 with another win over Czech side Slovan Liberec. Alkmaar will now face a two-legged affair with Russian side Anzhi in the next round, as the last remaining Eredivisie side in European competition this season.

Advocaat’s side dominated early proceedings and should have been a goal to the good in the first 15 minutes when Etienne Reijnen emerged down the right but his pass was blasted over the crossbar by US striker Aron Jóhannsson.

The hosts took a 19th minute lead with Nick Viergever, scorer from the first leg, notching again. The defender lost his marker to nod home a Nemanja Gudelj corner to give his side a 2-0 aggregate lead.

Yevhen Budnik scored from close range on 77 minutes to level the game up, but the Czechs were unable to find a late winner to progress onto the last 16.

AZ are still yet to be defeated in the Europa League this season but face a tough trip to Russia to face Anzhi, who has not been performing well in the Russian Premier League this season.


AZ: Esteban, Reijnen, Gouweleeuw, Wuytens, Viergever, Gudelj, Ortiz, Elm, Gudmundsson, Jóhannsson (Lewis 75), Beerens (Poulsen 87).

SUBS NOT USED: De Winter, Johansson, Gorter, Henriksen, Berghuis.

GOALS: Viergever 19.

BOOKINGS: Gouweleeuw 48, Viergever 63, Lewis 79.

LIBEREC: Hrosso, Coufal, Kovac, Rajnoch, Fleisman, Sural, Jarolim (Pimpara 69), Rybalka, Frydek (Dijka 31), Pavelka, Budnik (Kolar 83).

SUBS NOT USED: Kovar, Karisik, Pokorny, Novotny.

GOALS: Budnik 72.

BOOKINGS: Sural 41, Coufal 44, Budnik 68.


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