Tag Archives: Sparta Prague

EUROPA LEAGUE: Sparta Prague 3-1 PEC Zwolle






PEC Zwolle’s European dreams are over as Czech side Sparta Prague blew Ron Jans’ side away tonight in a 3-1 triumph writes Will Burns.

Sparta exploded out of the blocks and were ahead after just nine minutes with Ladislav Krejčí breaking past the Zwolle defence to slot past Diederik Boer in goal.

Zwolle attacked, searching for the equaliser and the all-important away goal but were hit on the break before half-time to virtually kill the tie off. Midfielder Bořek Dočkal finished a counter attack with a blast from outside the area, which cruelly deflected off Maikel van der Werff with Boer totally out of the reach.

Prague found a third just after the hour mark through Jakub Brabec before Zwolle grabbed a consolation through a Stef Nijland penalty kick, after Mustafa Saymak was fouled in the area by Radoslav Kováč.

The adventure is over for Zwolle, however they can be proud of reaching Europe just two seasons after promotion and with Ron Jans’ leadership they might be to qualify next year.


SPARTA PRAGUE: Bičík, Brabec, Kovac, Kadeřábek, Nhamoinesu, Matejovsky, Dockal, Mareček, Vacek (Konate 84), Krejci (Nespor 90+1), Lafata (Brezanik 90+1).

SUBS NOT USED: Stech, Svejdik, Hybs, Bednar.

GOALS: Krejci 10, Dockal 44, Brabec 62.

BOOKINGS: Matejovsky 32, Brabec 56, Nhamoinesu 57.

PEC ZWOLLE: Boer, Van Polen, Sainsbury, Van der Werff, Van Hintum, Rienstra, Saymak, Lukoki (Dekker 78), Drost, Thomas (Moro 70), Necid (Nijland 55).

SUBS NOT USED: De Jong, Ioannidis, Pereira, Lam.

GOALS: Nijland 83P.

BOOKINGS: Sainsbury 36.


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Four Eredivisie sides in Europa League playoff action this Thursday night and Total Dutch Football’s Will Burns, Lawk Raoof and Ryan O’Grady provide their best bets for all four encounters.





The return leg in the Borisov Arena in Belarus will be an interesting match. The prize is €2m or €3m for qualifying, big interest and big prizes for both the teams, who will prevail? Lawk Raoof thinks PSV will find life easy in Belarus.

With a marginal 1-0 home win for PSV in the first leg, this upcoming clash for a Europa League place is hardly settled. The Eindhoven side narrowly defeated a good organized Shaktyor Soligorsk and with the previous Eredivisie clash against arch enemy Ajax, it will be a tough fight to win this game for De Boeren. With the great prize money on the line, both teams will be eager to get through. The home advantage cannot be ignored, winning 5-1 against Derry City and a 5-2 victory against Zulte Waregem are great wins and shows the power and thrive this teams has got in their home ties.

However PSV take with them two players in real form, Georginio Wijnaldum and Memphis Depay will be the great weapons for this match. Also, with the one goal lead, PSV can relax and Shaktyor has to attack to force a goal. This leads to an opportunity for Philip Cocu’s side to profit from the room they will get and counter, which was proven to be deadly against Ajax on Sunday.

Place a small stake on 2-0 for a PSV win, as the counter attack combined with the individual class of Depay and Wijnaldum means they will easily win this match in Belarus.


PSV to win 2-0 (7/1 – Bet Victor)



Qarabag FK held FC Twente to 0-0 draw in Azerbaijan last week but Will Burns thinks Alfred Schreuder’s men should progress comfortably.

Qarabag showed last week that they had talents that could threaten Twente. The Brazilian contingent of Danilo Leandro Dias, Chumbinho, Richard Almeida and Reynaldo created problems from Darryl Lachman and Rasmus Bengtsson. However, Schreuder can boast talents like Hakim Ziyech, Kamohelo Mokotjo, Youness Mokhtar, Kasper Kusk and Luc Castaignos, the Enschede side are too strong to see a decent victory come full-time.

Except the home side to come out of this match with a two or three goal win to progress into the Europa League group stages in style.


Twente -1 (13/8 – Bet Victor)



After an awful display at the weekend, Fred Rutten’s Feyenoord will look to bounce back on Thursday and send themselves through to the Europa League group stages, Ryan O’Grady believes they can.

A potentially season-changing game awaits Feyenoord on Thursday night. An uneventful and rather dull first leg ended in 1-1 draw which means that if the second leg ends 0-0, which is a possibility consider the performances in the first leg, it will see Feyenoord progress into the group stages.

However if Zorya were able to spring an upset and Feyenoord were knocked out then it is almost certain that Jordy Clasie will leave, if it is has not already (he missed training on Monday adding more fuel to the fire). Such a top quality player isn’t likely to stay with the club if there is no European competition and it could also affect whom the club bring in as no Europa League means less money with which Fred Rutten and the board will able to play with, which is likely to completely rule out the signing of a striker such as Guidetti, a signing that already didn’t look promising.

A much improved performance is needed for Fred Rutten’s side after a disappointing defeat at home to FC Utrecht at the weekend, whilst Zorya are coming off the back of a 0-0 draw away to Chernomorets.


Feyenoord to win 2-1 (8/1 – Bet Victor)



Ron Jans’ PEC Zwolle are in the form team in the Netherlands right now, starting an undefeated season with wins over Vitesse and Ajax, however Will Burns thinks it may be tough in Prague on Thursday night.

Zwolle improved vastly in the second half on Sunday to clinch a great 2-1 win over Vitesse and were dreadfully unlucky not to grab a win last Thursday. After missing a penalty in the first leg, defender Maikel van der Werff scored a free-kick, albeit deflected, on Sunday in the home victory.

They travel to Prague to face Sparta who over the weekend lost a derby match against Dukla Prague by a goal to nil, which may inspire them to triumph in this match to appease the home fans. They currently sit fourth in the Czech top flight with nine points in five games.

This match could be a tight one, with Sparta defending their away goal or Zwolle will go forward in search to a vital away goal themselves. Either way, expect this game to finish a draw, either going to extra time (1-1) or a Zwolle away goals win (2-2).


Draw (3/1 – Bet Victor)


EUROPA LEAGUE: PEC Zwolle 1-1 Sparta Prague






PEC Zwolle will be ruing first half chances, including a missed penalty, as they drew their first ever game in European competition 1-1 against Czech giants Sparta Prague reports Will Burns.

Ron Jans decided to select Czech striker Tomas Necid against the club, Necid seen as his biggest rival growing up as a Slavia Prague fan. The big 6ft 3inches forward was constant thorn in Sparta’s side tonight and his performance will surely earn himself a place in Jans’ starting line-up at the weekend against Vitesse Arnhem.

Zwolle dropped Jody Lukoki to the bench and replaced him with Greek attacked Nikos Ioannidis, a summer loan signing from Olympiakos. Sparta keeper David Bičík was kept busy throughout the night and on six minutes, Ioannidis fired a great effort at the stopper after cutting in from the right wing, but Bičík held firm.

Jesper Drost then had a golden opportunity minutes later, after some great work from New Zealand winger Ryan Thomas. Thomas weaved his way into the area from the left wing and Necid controlled the 19-year-old cross into the path of Drost. Unfortunately, for the midfielder he failed to connect properly with his first time shot and scuffed his effort wide.

Necid then decided to test Bičík with a half-volley from the edge of the box after again linking up well with Thomas, however minutes later Necid had a bigger impact on the game when he was fouled in the area by Jakub Brabec. Immediately, English referee Michael Oliver pointed to the spot but Maikel van der Werff hit a poor penalty as Bičík easily saved the spot-kick.

The visitors only had one real chance before half-time when Pavel Kadeřábek latched onto a mistake by Zwolle goalie Diederik Boer. The right-back crossed for Costa Nhamoinesu in the centre, but the Zimbabwean sliced his shot and Boer recovered to save on the line. Further efforts from Necid and long range efforts from Thomas and Mustafa Saymak tested Bičík but the sides went into the break goal-less.

Ron Jans decided to bring on the tricky Jody Lukoki on at the interval for Ioannidis to give his side more creativity on the right-wing. However, it was the Czechs that should have taken the lead nine minutes after the restart. Veteran striker David Lafata had a great chance just before the hour-mark but Drost got back to clear off the line.

Minutes after Bart van Hintum had flashed a shot across goal, substitute Jody Lukoki gave the hosts the lead, their first ever goal in Europe. After a great exchange of passes between Lukoki, Necid and Drost, the former Ajax winger was on hand to tap home to make it 1-0.

The Ijsseldelta Stadion exploded however, the atmosphere was cut short by Sparta’s equaliser four minutes later. The impressive Kamil Vacek, a recent on-loan signing from Chievo, sped down the right wing and beat Van Hintum with ease. Vacek cut back to Ladislav Krejčí in the box whose shot clipped off Van der Werff and past Boer in goal to level the game up and give Prague that all important away goal.

Tomas Necid may have won the game for Zwolle after his free header from Lukoki’s corner was well wide with minutes to go. The game finished all square and Zwolle has to get at least one goal over in Prague next Thursday to qualify further.


ZWOLLE: Boer, Van Polen, Sainsbury, Van der Werff, Van Hintum, Rienstra, Saymak, Ioannidis (Lukoki 46), Drost, Thomas (Nijland 65), Necid.

SUBS NOT USED: De Jong, Dekker, Moro, Pereira, Lam.

GOALS: Lukoki 77.

BOOKINGS: Lukoki 77, Van Polen 86.

SPARTA PRAGUE: Bičík, Kadeřábek, Kovac, Brabec, Nhamoinesu, Marecek, Husbauer (Prikryl 66), Matejovsky, Dockal (Vacek 76), Lafata (Bednar 90+2), Krejci.

SUBS NOT USED: Stech, Svejdik, Konaté, Breznanik.

GOALS: Krejci 82.

BOOKINGS: Matejovsky 57.


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EUROPA LEAGUE: Preview and Betting Tips


Four Eredivisie teams head into the Europa League playoffs this Thursday and Will Burns and Lawk Raoof is here to inform you which bets provide the key to profit in the first legs.





Alfred Schreuder heads into a hard trip to Azerbaijan with the best squad FC Twente has in recent years, however Will Burns suggests that the Horsemen of Azerbaijan will not make it easy for the Enschede boys.

Qarabağ FK’s 2-1 home victory against Austrian champions Red Bull Salzburg was an extraordinary result in the Champions League third qualifying round first leg, particularly as Salzburg battered Ajax 6-1 over two legs in the Europa League last year and in this game, Gurban Gurbanov’s side finished the match with only nine men.

Strangely enough, Qarabağ and Twente have met at this stage before in 2009/10 with the Eredivisie side winning 3-1 in the home leg but held to a goal-less draw in the return leg. I feel that Twente will be two strong over the two legs but may find life difficult in Stadium Tofig Bahramov Republican. Their coach Gubanov at only 42-years-old has had six years at the club and he has them playing attractive football and they are not reliant on one player.

The side has a Brazilian contingent, with winger Danilo Leandro Dias, attacking midfielder Chumbinho, anchorman Richard Almeida and forward Reynaldo vital components in the side. However, against the likes of new signings Hakim Ziyech and Kamohelo Mokotjo, creative midfielder Youness Mokhtar, speedy winger Kasper Kusk and clinical striker Luc Castaignos, Twente should have enough power in their eleven to sneak a narrow win.

Twente are favourites and rightly so, however do not expect a whitewash, the Dutch side to win 1-0 or 2-1. A Twente win is valued at Bet Victor at 17/20 and I feel that is the safest and recommended bet in this first leg tie.


Twente to win (17/20 – Bet Victor)



Lawk Raoof tells you to tune in this Thursday night for a solid 3-0 win by PSV against Belarusian Cup winner FC Shakhtyor Salihorsk. Be ready to view the clash between David versus Goliath, PSV versus Shaktyor, a Europa League group place versus nothing.

PSV started the Eredivisie season with a great 3-2 win against Willem II and a beastly 6-1 home-win against NAC Breda with World Cup stars Georginio Wijnaldum and Memphis Depay in a defining role. The first leg of the two games will be at the Phillips Stadium in Eindhoven this Thursday, while the second game will be in Belarus, against 2014 cup-winner FC Shakhtyor Salihorsk. The team started in 1961 and has a small capacity of just 4,200 fans in their stadium.

It should not be any surprise that the team should not be underestimated, with quick wingers and a direct playing style they are a typical counter-team. To comprise the danger coming from this fit team is to look at their win against Zulte Waregem (BEL) with an aggregated 7-4 win and their aggregated win against Irish side Derry City of 6-2. Both games with a flashing counter-attack.

However, with the current form of the PSV players, their teamwork and class they will easily win this game by my prediction by 3-0. The team out of Belarus comes out of a poor quality league and has only came so far by winning both second and third qualifying round games against weak opponents and winning the 2014 national cup.

I recommend placing a small stake on PSV to win 3-0 at 6/1 at Bet Victor. Cocu’s men will explode out of the blocks and this time with great combination game defeat this enemy.


PSV to win 3-0 (6/1 – Bet Victor)



Fred Rutten’s Feyenoord face a tough trip to the Ukraine to face Zoyra Luhansk, a team that struggled to defeat Norweigans Molde FK in the last round in a narrow 2-1 win. Will Burns feels that Rutten’s men may be too strong for the Ukrainians.

The Rotterdammers will have to be aware of striker Pylyp Budkivskiy who has notched once in four games this season so far but is well capable of putting himself about and ruffling the feathers of any defence. The Luhansk side have done their homework and speaking to UEFA.com, the Zorya head coach Yuriy Vernydub seemed confident: “We didn’t expect easy opponents at this stage. Feyenoord are one of the strongest teams in the play-offs. We will do our best to give a respectable account of ourselves. They have some Dutch international players who played in Brazil, but there is nothing to be scared of. Chornomorets Odesa beat PSV last season and we will have our chances.”

Rutten will also be confident heading into Ukraine with talent on the plane like Jordy Clasie, Jean-Paul Boetuis and Lex Immers and I cannot see Feyenoord being troubled too much, however I find it hard to see where the goals may come from. Stand-in striker Mitchell te Vrede has hardly been inspiring this season BUT to his credit he has been in the right place at the right time and scored two goals in two games so far.

Look Feyenoord to win by the single goal and the 1-0 scoreline is 13/2 at Bet Victor may be worth a small stake but taking Feyenoord to win gets you a price of 23/20 which is a safer bet.


Feyenoord to win (23/20 – Bet Victor)



Excitement is in the air in Zwolle as Ron Jans leads his side into their first ever European adventure against Czech side Sparta Prague, Will Burns predicts it will be a good night for the Blauwvingers.

Domestically, PEC Zwolle are on fire. First defeating Ajax 1-0 in their own backyard for the Johan Cruijff Schaal then clocking up two wins in two games over FC Utrecht and FC Dordrecht. Like Czech football expert Chris Boothroyd mentioned in his piece yesterday, this is possibly the best time to play Sparta Prague. Champions League elimination via Swedish outfit Malmo FF and then crashing to Banik Ostrava at the weekend, Prague are on the ropes and an in-form Zwolle could smell blood and go to kill this tie off in the first leg.

Sparta will be missing influential midfielder Lukas Vacha, who will sit this game out due to a suspension after his last-minute dismissal against Malmo earlier this month. One link between the clubs will be Zwolle’s latest signing, Czech striker Tomas Necid. The big 6ft 3 forward was introduced in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Dordrecht and set up Mustafa Saymak’s 93rd minute winner. Necid grew up supporting Sparta’s bitter rivals Slavia and has also had two spells at the club, including his youth development.

Zwolle have their tails up and with this being their first ever venture into European football, I see Thursday being a special night and a win against their Czech rivals at the hot atmosphere inside the Ijsseldelta Stadion. Bet Victor are offering 8/5 for the home win and it is a fantastic price that cannot be ignored. I cannot see a price for a Tomas Necid anytime goal, however it would be a lovely story if he gets a run out.


PEC Zwolle to win (8/5 – Bet Victor)

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PEC Zwolle’s Euro opponents: Sparta Prague

This Thursday Ron Jans leads PEC Zwolle into their first ever game in European Football as current Synot Liga champions Sparta Prague make the short trip to the Netherlands in the first leg of the Europa League playoffs. Czech football expert Chris Boothroyd gives Total Dutch Football the full rundown on what PEC Zwolle can expect…

If there is a time to play Sparta Prague, then that time is now. Despite an easy canter to the Czech league title last season, this year has thrown up its fair share of panic and problems in just a few short weeks as old curses have reappeared. The Champions League exit at the hands of Malmo has been doubt spread through the squad like wildfire and a defeat to Banik Ostrava in the league on Friday has only succeeded in fuelling the flames.

Sparta have been forced to watch on enviously whilst Viktoria Plzen represented the country in the Champions League, and gave good accounts of themselves against the likes of Manchester City, Bayern Munich and AC Milan, earning plaudits and recognition from their gutsy, never-say-die approach to free-flowing football. But last season the tide turned and Viteslav’s Lavicka’s approach of modernising Sparta duly paid off. Champions League qualification was the objective this year and they have already come up short after a catastrophically bad performance in Sweden, a country in which they’ve never won or scored.

As is always the case with the top clubs from mid-level leagues, the best players tend to get bought by the bigger and richer clubs from around Europe. Last year Sparta’s marquee name to leave was, finally, Vaclav Kadlec and this year has already seen Tomas Vaclik leave Prague for Basel. But Sparta appears to be set to be losing their most important player of the last eighteen months, Josef Husbauer. Rumours of his departure have been persistent – Newcastle were linked at one point – and it is expected that he will seal a move to Cagliari in the near future, but the form that saw the dynamic midfielder procure the Czech golden boot last year has mysteriously vanished. But if at his best, there aren’t too many people capable of getting up and down the pitch, setting up chances and, importantly, converting them.

Defensively too there are question marks. The Zimbabwean international Costa Nhamoinesu was imperious last season, but looks a different player this time around and Mario Holek – converted into a ball-playing centre-back by Lavicka – has been absent through injury and understudies Radoslav Kovac and Jakub Brabec have been unconvincing. The steeliness has worn away somewhat.

But despite an early season dip in form, there are a number of players who are capable of the sublime.

Borek Dockal broke records last season from out wide and has as good a right foot as you are likely to see, Ladislav Krejci is the home-grown old-school winger a big performance or two away from a big-money transfer and David Lafata has been banging them in for fun for years now, but it only getting the recognition he deserves – that’s what five goals on your Champions League debut will do for you.

Sparta, should, be seeing off Zwolle, with the front three of Dockal, Lafata and Krejci – with Husbauer advancing from deep – on song, but their recent blip throws that proverbial cat amongst the pigeons.

One area where the Dutch side should target is the centre of midfield. Lukas Vacha, suspended for the tie after his last-minute dismissal in Sweden, will be a huge loss. Versed in the dark arts of disrupting play and not afraid to get stuck in, the defensive midfield may primarily be a destroyer, but the former Slovan Liberec man is very comfortable on the ball and provides a calming presence whilst those around him bomb forward. Without an obvious replacement, Sparta could be overrun.

Predicted XI: Bicik – Kaderabek, Kovac, Svejdik, Costa – Matejovsky, Marecek, Husbauer – Dockal, Lafata, Krejci



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