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Everton approach fortress Alkmaar

Published: Sunday 9 December 2007, 21.45CET
Europe's longest-standing unbeaten home record is at stake as AZ Alkmaar take on Group A winners Everton FC needing the right result to reach the last 32.
Everton approach fortress Alkmaar
AZ celebrate scoring in Nuremberg ©Getty Images

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AZEverton

Goals scored6
 
23
Attempts on target23
 
56
Attempts off target15
 
33
Corners19
 
54
Offsides7
 
27
Fouls committed63
 
128
Yellow cards12
 
18
Red cards1
 
0

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Published: Sunday 9 December 2007, 21.45CET

Everton approach fortress Alkmaar

Europe's longest-standing unbeaten home record is at stake as AZ Alkmaar take on Group A winners Everton FC needing the right result to reach the last 32.

Europe's longest-standing unbeaten home record is at stake as AZ Alkmaar take on Group A winners Everton FC needing a victory to make sure of reaching the Round of 32.

• A 1-0 success against Larissa FC on Matchday 3 was AZ's 32nd unbeaten home game since they made their UEFA competition debut with an 11-1 thrashing of FA Red Boys Differdange in 1977. They surpassed Ipswich Town FC, who remain undefeated at home in Europe after 31 matches at Portman Road.

• Coach Louis van Gaal said afterwards: "I told my players before kick-off that this record is important. By not losing here, these players have become part of AZ history. They are in the club's record books. That is something I am proud of, and the same goes for my players."

• AZ drew their opening Group A game at FC Zenit St. Petersburg, then overcame Larissa, but lost at 1. FC Nürnberg to sit third in the section, level on four points with the German side in fourth.

• Larissa are at home to Nürnberg in Thursday's other Group A encounter.

• A win in the Netherlands will see AZ through regardless of the result in Greece, while a Nürnberg victory coupled with a defeat or a low-scoring draw for AZ would see the Dutch team eliminated. A draw of 4-4 or more would also lift AZ above second-placed Zenit (who have five points), but a 3-3 would not be enough because Zenit have a better record of goals scored in their away ties.

• AZ have competed in all four UEFA Cup group stages since its inception in 2004/05 and have never failed to qualify for the knockout phase.

• David Moyes's Everton are one of four clubs with maximum points so far along with Panathinaikos FC, Hamburger SV and FC Girondins de Bordeaux. They have beaten Larissa, Nürnberg and Zenit.

• AZ midfielder Simon Cziommer played alongside Everton's Netherlands winger Andy van der Meyde at FC Twente in the 1999/00 season.

• The Alkmaar club's goalkeeper Joey Didulica was a team-mate of both Van der Meyde and his Everton colleague Steven Pienaar at AFC Ajax between 2000 and 2003.

• The two sides have never met in UEFA club competition.

• Everton have played six games against Dutch opposition, winning two, drawing one and losing three – including one victory and two defeats on Dutch soil.

• AZ striker Ari is serving the third part of a three-match suspension while Kemy Agustien, Cziommer and Milano Koenders are also within a booking of a one-game ban, along with Everton's Joseph Yobo.

• AZ's nine meetings with English teams have produced two wins, three draws and four losses.

• The draw for the Round of 32 and Round of 16 will be held in Nyon on 21 December from 13.00CET.

Last updated: 12/12/07 21.19CET

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