Category Archives: EUROPA LEAGUE



Tipster Will Burns takes a look at the upcoming fixtures involving AZ and Ajax in the Europa League Round of 32 first-legs below. Good luck if your having a punt, and please click on one of our sponsors to have a bet to help us pay the bills. All Will’s tips are over EVENS so you can get yourself some value in the markets.





Ajax head to Salzburg on Thursday with nothing to lose – as of now, they are three goals down and out of the competition after last week’s demolition – so Frank de Boer side needs to go for goals and try to win by four clear goals to qualify for the next round.

Can they do it? No. Why? Simply because no team can stop Red Bull Salzburg from scoring on recent form and I really cannot see them conceding four at home either. Die Roten Bullen have now won all of their last eleven matches, scoring a massive 35 goals while now leading the Austrian Bundesliga by 19 points and on Thursday night, I can see them notching at least another two past De Boer’s men.

Last week Salzburg tore Ajax apart with goals from Spaniard Jonathan Soriano (2) and Senegalese winger Sadio Mané and at the weekend, they blasted six past Admira with Brazilian Alan coming on at half-time and notching a hat-trick, as you do…

Lets look for another goal fest and with BetVictor offering a massive 8/5, it’s a price not be ignored especially given the past attacking form of these two sides.

BURNS’ BEST BET: Over 3.5 Goals (8/5 – BetVictor) – Click to take advantage of our deal that will get you £25 free bets for all new customers.



AZ Alkmaar will look to ensure coach Dick Advocaat has reason to remember his 100th European competition game as a coach fondly as Slovan Liberec visit the Netherlands on Thursday night.

Advocaat was named AZ coach on 16 October last year, returning to the club where he spent five months in charge at the end of 2009/10. Twice Oranje national coach, he won the 2007/08 UEFA Cup with Zenit, as well as domestic championships titles with PSV Eindhoven, Rangers and the Russians.

Even with a manager with such credentials leading the way, this will be a tough test in more ways than one for AZ. Liberec have been known to dish out some physical punishment while progressing in the Europa League. So far in this year’s competition, The Czech side have committed 142 fouls since the start of the group stage, 23 more than any other side.

Last Thursday, Alkmaar left Liberec with a narrow 1-0 win, thanks to Nick Viergever’s opportunistic late winner. The first leg was a close affair until Viergever’s timely intervention to secure the spoils for the Eredivisie club.

I see the second leg are being tight with the game ending in a draw which has been priced at 10/3 by our partners at Bet365. 

BURNS’ BEST BET: Draw (10/3 – Bet365) – – Click here to bet on this market and get up to £200 in free bets.


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AZ win as Salzburg smash Ajax


The last two remaining Dutch sides in European football were in action this evening with one of them looking incredibly likely to be heading out, the other held strong and gained a great away win.

Thursday 20th February 2014



A late Nick Viergever goal gave AZ Alkmaar the advantage in the first leg of their Europa League Round of 32 tie against Czech side Slovan Liberec.

Viergever gives AZ upper hand at Liberec

The Czech side currently sixth in the Gambrinus Liga, were made to pay for an 88th minute mix-up between defence and goalkeeper from a Nemanja Gudelj free-kick and defender Nick Viergever was on hand to prod the ball home into the empty net.

It is a slender lead taken out of a poor match and Dick Advocaat will look to his side to dominate at the AFAS Stadion next Thursday night when the Czechs travel to Alkmaar for the return leg.


LIBEREC: Kovar, Coufal, Kovac, Rajnoch, Fleisman, Sural, Sackey, Rybalka, Frydek, Pavelka, Budnik (Pimpara 86).

SUBS NOT USED: Hrosso, Karisik, Jarolim, Dijka, Kolar, Pokorny.

GOALS: None.

BOOKINGS: Sackey 45+1, Rybalka 88.

AZ: Esteban, Reijnen, Gouweleeuw, Wuytens, Viergever, Gudelj, Ortiz, Elm, Gudmundsson, Johansson, Beerens.

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

GOALS: Viergever 88.

BOOKINGS: Reijnen 57, Wuytens 90+2.



Frank de Boer and Ajax were left totally embarrassed by an impressive Red Bull Salzburg who totally deserved their 3-0 win.

Salzburg manager Roger Schmidt declared in yesterday’s press conference that he was coming to Amsterdam to win the game and from the very first whistle you could see the Austrian’s intentions. The far superior Die Roten Bullens stampeded De Boer’s side into the ground and did not let the creators of Total Football play their game.

Before the kick-off, after been previously named in the starting line-up, Danish midfielder Lasse Schöne, the hat-trick hero from the weekend win over Heerenveen, went over on his ankle in the pre-match warm up and was forced to be replaced in the eleven by Icelandic forward Kolbeinn Sigthórsson.

Schmidt’s men fired out of the blocks and should have been in the lead after just three minutes of play. A well worked free-kick from the Austrians gifted the unmarked Brazilian Andre Ramalho at the back post with a golden opportunity to hit home the first goal. However, it was a huge let off for Ajax as the Brazilian sliced his volley well over the bar.

The Amsterdammers were rattled from the off and the defensive frailties showed after 13 minutes when Joël Veltman clumsily gave away a penalty for a foul in the area on Brazilian striker Alan. Spanish striker Jonathan Soriano stepped up and sent Jasper Cillessen the wrong way.

Ajax looked awful giving the ball away under constant pressure from the visitors and on 21 minutes, Salzburg winger Sadio Mané doubled the lead. Bojan lost the ball just his opponents half after a strong challenge from Martin Hinteregger and Kevin Kampl picked up the ball. The Slovenian midfielder spotted Mane’s run through the middle and lobbed the ball over to the Senegal winger. Mane easily outsprinted Moisander to reach the ball and skip past Cillessen to make it 2-0.

De Boer sat on the touchline looking like he wanted to ground to swallow him up but it was only to get worse for the Ajax coach. It was an unbelievable moment on 35 minutes as former Barcelona B striker Soriano notched his second goal with an audacious effort and a serious contender for ‘Goal of the Season’. The Spaniard retrieved the ball from Ricardo van Rhijn and observed Cillessen off his line. The goalkeeper, hoping to be selected as the Oranje number one for the upcoming World Cup, did not do himself any favours in front of Louis van Gaal when Soriano shot from the halfway line. The effort was perfect, Cillessen scurried back and leaped to push the ball away, but the Spaniards shot dipped under the cross bar as the Ajax fans sat in shock.

The second-half did not change for the hosts and the team looked out of ideas as Salzburg pressurized the Eredivisie champions into mistake after mistake but at least one positive to come out was that the goals stopped.

It was a pitiful performance from Ajax and they did not even get their first shot on target until three minutes into stoppage time at the end of the second half. Many of De Boer’s stars failed to turn up, De Jong, Klaassen and Sigthórsson were ineffectual, Lerin Duarte looked a shadow of his performances for Heracles this time last year, defensive duo Niclas Moisander and Veltman looked shaky throughout. This game certainly opened up some problems that the coach may need to face in the coming weeks.

They will need at least a 4-0 win over in Austria next Thursday but from this display you would find it hard to see them defeating AZ Alkmaar in the league on Sunday.


AJAX: Cillessen, Van Rhijn, Veltman, Moisander, Duarte (Poulsen 60), Klaassen (Andersen 81), Blind, De Jong, Sigthórsson (Kishna 60), Bojan, Fischer.

SUBS NOT USED: Vermeer, Denswil, Riedewald.

GOALS: None.

BOOKINGS: Veltman 13, De Jong 27, Blind 77.

SALZBURG: Gulácsi, Schwegler, Ulmer, Hinteregger, Ramalho, Mané, Ilsanke, Leitgeb (Berisha 83), Kampl (Svento 88), Soriano (Zulj 77), Alan.

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

GOALS: Soriano 14P, 35, Mané 21.

BOOKINGS: Leitgeb 19, Hinteregger 42.


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Tipster Will Burns takes a look at the upcoming fixtures involving AZ and Ajax in the Europa League Round of 32 first-legs below. Good luck if your having a punt, and please click on one of our sponsors to have a bet to help us pay the bills. All Will’s tips are over EVENS so you can get yourself some value in the markets.





Dutch league leaders Ajax resume their Europa League campaign with huge confidence at home to Red Bull Salzburg on Thursday night as Frank de Boer’s side are now unbeaten in their past 17 competitive matches, dating right back to November last year.

Ahead of hosting the Austrian side to Amsterdam ArenA for the first leg of this round-of-32 tie, the Amsterdammers thrashed Heerenveen by three goals this past weekend. Danish midfielder Lasse Schöne scored a hat-trick in Sunday’s game including two spot-kicks as the defending Eredivisie champions continued their impressive form. With the talents of Davy Klaassen, Kolbeinn Sigþórsson, Schone and Siem de Jong, De Boer has the talent at his disposal to go far in the Europa League.

They face a huge test on Thursday in Salzburg, who are also in impressive form ahead of the first leg. Die Roten Bullen  have won all of their last nine matches, scoring a massive 26 goals while going on to hold a 17 point lead at the top of the Austrian Bundesliga. The profilic strike partnership of Brazilian Alan (18 goals) and Spaniard Jonathan Soriano (17) has been the key to Salzburg’s success this term. The pair each scored a hat-trick in Salzburg’s last home game, a 6-0 win over SV Grödig.

The best bet will be Over 3.5 Goals in this game which Betfair are currently offering at 6/4. I cannot see Ajax losing but the attacking prowess of both sides could see plenty of goals.

BURNS’ BEST BET: Over 3.5 Goals (6/4 – Betfair) – Click here to bet on this market.



AZ Alkmaar travel to Liberec to face Slovan who, due to the Czech football winter break, have not played a competitive football match since the 12th of December, a Europa League win away to Estoril. The Czech side are also not in great form with their last league victory being at the end of September.

On a positive note for Liberec, they are undefeated in ten of their last 11 Europa League matches with Dick Advocaat’s AZ are undefeated in their last six in the competition. Sitting seventh in the Eredivisie, AZ have not being convincing since returning from their winter break, with two wins, two defeats and a draw.

I can see the Dutch side coming away with an away goal here but also conceding so I think the draw will be the best and safest bet here. Our friends at Bet Victor are offering a great 5/2 for the teams to be level at full-time.

BURNS’ BEST BET: Draw (5/2 – Bet Victor) – Click here to bet on this market.


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EUROPA LEAGUE: Feyenoord out, AZ through




Feyenoord - Kuban Krasnodar


Kuban win 3-1 on agg.

Ronald Koeman’s season is going from bad to worse after Feyenoord crashed out of the Europa League at the qualifying stage at the hands of Russian Premier League side Kuban Krasnodar.

Feyenoord were awarded an early penalty after just two minutes of play, when Samuel Armenteros, a recent signing from Anderlecht, was tripped over in the box. However, the usually profilic Graziano Pelle saw his spot kick saved by goalkeeper Aleksandr Belenov.

In a high-octane opening of the match, the hosts saw themselves ahead on seven minutes with Pelle, this time, finishing his chance. After being played through by midfielder Lex Immers, the Italian finished the move well for Feyenoord to draw level on aggregate.

Feyenoord’s lead was not for long, as Krasnodar equalised on 18 minutes. Another defence splitting ball saw Gheorghe Bucur sped past Daryl Janmaat, and stopping the ball on the byline, crossing for Ivelin Popov to finish with ease.

The sides went in level at half-time and just five minutes after the interval, the Russians shocked Koeman’s side with a second goal. The creator turned goalscorer as Bacur finished with a excellent volley from outside the penalty area.

The Dutch side pushed looking for a way back into the tie but failed to trouble the organised Krasnodar defence, as they saw out the win.

Feyenoord are now the third Eredivisie team to be eliminated before the group stages, not a good stat for the Dutch UEFA coefficient for future tournaments.

AZ pip Atromitos in delayed finish


3-3 on agg. – AZ Alkmaar win on away goals rule

In a Europa League first, this tie was played over two different days as AZ Alkmaar advanced to the group stages. The Dutch side went through despite the 2-0 home defeat to Greek side Atromitos, they progress on away goals after the 3-1 victory in the first leg.

Inside the first minute, AZ Alkmaar found themselves down to ten men, when Marcus Henriksen was sent for a early bath for a challenge on Javier Umbides. The red card was very harsh as replays showed that there was minimal contact between the players.

The Greeks had a glorious chance to take the lead when they were awarded a penalty on 18 minutes. AZ goalkeeper Esteban Alvarado, who gave away the spot-kick, redeemed himself to save the penalty from Dimitris Papadopoulos.

The Greek striker also redeemed himself by opening the scoring on 53 minutes. Just six minutes later the match was halted for safety reasons due to an electrical fire linked to the floodlighting system at the AZ Stadion.

When the game was stopped, AZ trailed 1-0 on the night but led 3-2 on aggregate. Under UEFA’s competition regulations, the match resumed on Friday morning from the point of abandonment. Thanassis Karagounis struck a second goal for the Greek visitors on 75 minutes, but despite Stefano Napoleoni hitting the woodwork late on, AZ held on to progress on away goals.


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EUROPA LEAGUE: AZ success as Feyenoord falter





Ronald Koeman’s Feyenoord suffered their fourth successive defeat this season at the hands of Russian Premier League side Kuban Krasnodar. Senegalese striker Ibrahima Baldé got the only goal of the game on the hour mark.

If it were not for goalkeeper Erwin Mulder, Koeman’s side could have been returning to Rotterdam virtually out of the competition. The Russians left with just the 1-0 win but it was well-deserved after yet another lacklustre display from Feyenoord.

Goalscorer Baldé was lively throughout the game and had glorious chance to give the Russians the lead after just three minutes, but the Senegalese striker fired narrowly wide from just inside the area, much to Mulder’s relief.

Feyenoord failed to find the net and even the usually consistent Italian hitman Graziano Pellè had yet another off-night wasting his side’s best chance of the game. Pellè flicked a shot onto the post and midfielder Lex Immers over hit the rebound and blasted it over Aleksandr Belenov‘s crossbar.

Into the second period, the Russians looked much more likely to score and continued to press for the opening goal but this did not materialised until the 60th minute. Baldé was in the right place at the right time to fire home. A long ball by Ángel Dealbert was knocked down by Ivelin Popov into the striker’s path to force the ball past Mulder.

De Kuip hosts the return leg next Thursday, with Ronald Koeman knowing that his team still with a good chance to reach the group stages. However, he will also understand that their performance needs to improve quickly otherwise the season looks to be a write-off, even at this early stage.

Atromitos FC - AZ


AZ Alkmaar look likely to advance to the group stage of the competition after an excellent 3-1 in Greece against Atromitos.

After a uneventful goalless first-half, Jóhann Gudmundsson helped himself to a brace with Aron Jóhannsson scoring in the middle of the goals to give the Dutch side the win.

Gudmundsson opened the scoring on 50 minutes, with the newly American striker Jóhannsson grabbing the second on 73 minutes. AZ looked comfortable even though the Greeks scored a 76th minute spot-kick from 31-year-old striker Dimitris Papadopoulos. However, Gudmundsson added a third in stoppage time to give AZ the two-goal cushion to return home tomorrow morning.


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EUROPA LEAGUE QUALIFYING: Vitesse 1-2 Petrolul Ploiesti





FC Petrolul win 3-2 on aggregate

Another Eredivisie crashed out of the Europa League when they were odds on favourites to progress, as Vitesse tasted a 2-1 defeat to Romanians FC Petrolul.

The Arnhem side were full control from the opening whistle using Ecuadorian right-winger Renato Ibarra’s speed to frighten the life out of the Petrolul defence. With the Vitesse midfield discovering to how much damage Ibarra could cause, he saw the ball often and was near to scoring, before blazing his chance over the bar after smartly cutting in from the wing.

Against the run of the play, the Romanians went ahead on 20 minutes after attacking with a route one ball from goalkeeper Peterson Pecanha. Tall Congolese striker Ferebory Dore flicked it on and Vitesse’s on-loan defender Patrick van Aanholt failed to cut the ball out. This allowed Frenchman Damien Boudjemaa to home in on goal and fire past the helpless Piet Velthuizen.

Vitesse needed to regroup and fight back, and they surged forward looking to get a goal before half-time, but they wasted numerous opportunities, with young Norweigan Marcus Pedersen having the best chance cleared off the line just before the interval.

The Dutch side looked leggy after the break and Petrolul looked to wrap the game up. However, the GelreDome crowd cheered them on and the hosts always looked their most dangerous from a corner, and minutes after Kelvin Leerdam headed over they found their equaliser on 72 minutes.

Defender Jan-Arie van der Heijden, who earlier in the first-half received a black eye from an elbow, slammed the ball home after it was uncontrollably bouncing around from a Theo Janssen corner.

The supporters now were louder than ever and just eight minutes after the goal, Vitesse were given another inspiration to attack for more goals as Jean Alcenat received his second booking for a foul on Georgian wide man Giorgi Chanturia. Alcenat was protesting and he had every right to, as it was a very soft decision that ended in Chanturia throwing himself to the ground.

The crosses were coming in thick and fast and the strange fact that the aerial threat of Mike Havenaar did not start the game is a question that only Peter Bosz could answer. The striker went the closest to winning the game with five minutes remaining but after receiving a cross from Chanturia, he headed straight at goalkeeper Pecanha.

The game was settled in a cruel way for Vitesse and more so their spectators. In the last kick of the game, the ten-man of Petrolul won a free-kick in a dangerous area on the outside of the box. Romania striker Gheorghe Grozav stepped up and curled the ball home with a shot that left Velthuizen stranded.

After the game, Janssen was interviewed by Fox Sports and stated: “This is destroying and we are ashamed. I think we were much stronger than the Romanians, but a lot of the team have played below their normal level. This is just a shame for the club and the fans.”

When asked the Vitesse midfielder agreed that without the sales of star players in the summer they would have progressed this evening: “With Bony and Van Ginkel in the squad, we would have definitely won this contest. Up front we did not have enough power to finish.”

A terrible performance from yet another Eredivisie side, and now Vitesse join FC Utrecht as being eliminated from the tournament at the qualifying stage. This will not help the Dutch coefficient for future European competitions, and the KNVB can only hope that PSV and Ajax can display a good showing in the Champions League and Feyenoord and AZ Alkmaar in the remainder of this tournament when they draw is made on Friday.


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EUROPA LEAGUE: Utrecht embarrassed by Differdange





El Rafik 26, 57



Mulenga 2

In front of 1,500 of their own travelling supporters, FC Utrecht stumbled at the first hurdle of Europa League qualifying tonight, as they suffered a shock defeat in Luxembourg to FC Differdange 03 losing by two goals to one.

Copyright 2013 VI Images

Wantaway striker Jacob Mulenga gave the visitors a good start in the second minute, a cross from debutant Kenny Teijsse was met by the head of striker for the opening goal.

The Zambian then had a great chance to double the lead just after the restart, but he hit the post with his finish.

Utrecht became vulnerable at the back and Differdange were level on 26 minutes. Moroccan striker Omar El Rafik scoring the equaliser and after the break he found the net again on 57 minutes.

Head coach Jan Wouters stated after the game this was the worst defeat under his leadership at the club.



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