Shakhtar Karagandy vs AZ
Shakhtar Karagandy is coming from more than a disappointing performance as they lost on the road to Aktobe 4:0 in last championship match. Home side had absolute superiority on the field and won easily, taking advantage of numerous gaps in the defensive lineup of visiting team.
The team of Viktor Kumykov is right now only at the fifth position in the league, but still also only one point away from the third spot which gives the ticket for the qualifying round for Europa League next season. Next two matches the team will play at home and there is reasonable optimism that the target will be reached, while the team lost the momentum for Europa League with a 2:1 defeat away to PAOK in second round. Still, they aren't without chances in case of a victory tonight and although the team has no experience at European level, no doubt that they will try to make another surprise tonight. However, delay in salary payment and certain economic problems that exist in the club aren't doing in the favor of good atmosphere in the club. Experienced right back Poryvaev (20/0) served his suspension and will be included into the squad tonight, while the team has no injury/suspension worries towards the Dutch side.
AZ Alkmmar is coming from a 3:1 victory over Cambuur in last weekend's game at home. The game was a debut of their new coach Dick Advocaat, while the team showed great passion and determination, despite the fact that they were back in the scoreline in the sixth minute. Home side also showed great pace during the match, surely coming from the best performance this season.
Sudden dismissal of previous coach because of the poor atmosphere between him and the players obviously created good atmosphere with signing Advocaat for their new coach, as the team continues towards reached the second phase ticket in Europa League. They have won away to Maccabi 1:0, but drew at home against PAOK 1:1, team that will obviously be their biggest rival in a hunt for the first position. Dutch side sees no other target in tonight's game but a victory, disregarding the way they get it. Midfielders Henriksen (9/0) and right winger Beerens (9/2) are back in the team, with the only real absentee being left back Gorter (1/0).
Except from time difference and slight climate change, there is nothing in favor of the home team tonight. AZ players seem to be getting very well along their new coach and performing with great enthusiasm. Under such circumstances, it's hard to see anything but an away victory here.