AZ Alkmaar need to come from behind to reach the Europa League group stages on Thursday as they host Romanian side Astra Giurgiu at the AFAS Stadion.

az astra jddjAZ seemed to be cruising during the first leg when they raced into a 2-0 goal lead early on in the tie, but before the break Astra turned the game completely around and eventually won 3-2. The three Astra goals were conceded through set pieces and John van den Brom has confirmed that he has changed his marking from zonal to man to man for the second leg.

Van den Brom told a press conference, “We changed the organization last Sunday. Instead of defending in the area we now opt for man-to-man. That will be so tomorrow. ”

The coach also called on his side to follow Malmo’s lead after they came from behind to beat Celtic in the Champions League on Tuesday, he said, “If you saw with what intention and passion Malmö had to go through, then I think that’s a good incentive for us to also bring it Thursday. Then we have a good chance to go through.”

AZ’s poor start to the Eredivisie season continued on Sunday as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Willem II, and the Alkmaar side are still looking for their first win of the season. The club will be without the injured Celso Ortiz for the tie, while Alireza Jahanbaksh and Rajko Brezancic will also miss out.

Possible AZ line up: Rochet, Johansson, Haps, Van der Linden, Gouweleeuw, Haye, Van Overeem, Henriksen, Dos Santos, Hupperts, Janssen

Astra prepared for the second leg with a 4-1 win over CSMS Lasi to maintain their position at the top of the Romanian league. Coach Marius Şumudică is aiming for his side to be the only Romanian team left in Europe, but admitted his surprise that his team have got this far.

He told a press conference, “Our focus was at the beginning of this season, not at this tournament. Because we had never expected we would get this far. Now we are here, we must have a go. ”

Possible Astra line up: Lung, Queiros, Maranhao, Gaman, Oros, Boldrin, Lovin, Budescu, Enache, William, Alibec

Astra proved last week that they are very dangerous from set pieces and if AZ do not improve their defending then they are likely to be knocked out. However AZ also showed that they can create chances against this side and with two away goals they could progress with a slim 1-0 win. Its important for Dutch football that AZ go as far as they can in the Europa League to raise the nations coefficient.

Predicted result AZ 2-1 Astra




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