AZ Alkmaar host Astana on Thursday looking to book their first win in the Europa League group stages. Kick-off in the Hague is at 5.55pm.

AZ have played well so far in the Europa League but have only two points to show for it after draws with both Partizan Belgrade and Manchester United.

On Thursday, AZ will look to book their first victory when they face Astana of Kazakhstan, who currently sit bottom of the group with no points from their opening two games.

However, AZ go into the game on the back of a disappointing 4-2 loss against Heerenveen, which ended a seven-game unbeaten streak. Opponents, Astana beat main title rivals Kairat 3-1 at the weekend but still sit two points behind the league leaders.

Speaking at his press conference, Arnie Slot stated his side must start scoring from their chances, unlike during the 0-0 draw with Man Utd. He said, “We were much better then and that was reflected, among other things, in the cornering ratios: 10 for and 1 against. Yet we have not scored a goal. That can sometimes make the difference in winning matches. We had an important lesson in that on Saturday. ”

On opponents, Astana, Slot added, “Astana is a team with a lot of height and that is the challenge for us. ”

Team News

Striker Myron Boadu missed the defeat against Heerenveen at the weekend but he is back in the squad and should start in place of Ferdy Druijf.

Other than that, Slot has no issues and can name his usual eleven.

Possible AZ line-up: Bizot, Svensson, Wijndal, Vlaar, Wuytens, Koopmeiners, Midtso, De Wit, Stengs, Idrissi, Boadu

Astana’s squad has one name which will be familiar to fans of AZ Alkmaar. Romanian winger Denis Rotariu spent an unsuccessful period on loan at the club last season. He should start for Astana against his former club.

Possible Astana line-up: Eric, Rukavina, Shomko, Beysebekov, Postnikov, Simunovic, Tomasov, Maevski, Khiznichenko, Rotariu, Murtazayev

Odds

AZ 4/11 Draw 4/1 Astana 15/2

Can AZ get their first group win?

A red card was behind AZ failing to beat Partizan Belgrade, while the Alkmaar side were also the better team during the 0-0 draw against Manchester United.

On Thursday, AZ Alkmaar should have too much for Astana, especially since Myron Boadu is back from injury. The young striker was a big miss against Heerenveen but he is available again for Arnie Slot.

Boadu, Calvin Stengs and Oussama Idrissi are a formidable front three when together and they should have too much for the Astana defence on Thursday.

A win and five points from their opening three games will be a great start for AZ.




admin (7393 Posts)

Follow @Footballoranje_ on Twitter