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AZ take aim at Udinese

Published: Saturday 25 February 2012, 2.05CET
AZ Alkmaar must be wary as they play host to Udinese Calcio in the UEFA Europa League round of 16, though the Italian side have yet to score a goal on Dutch soil.
AZ take aim at Udinese
AZ coach Gertjan Verbeek ©Getty Images

Tournament statistics

AZUdinese

Goals scored17
 
11
Attempts on target68
 
48
Attempts off target62
 
69
Corners73
 
49
Offsides23
 
44
Fouls committed168
 
139
Yellow cards23
 
18
Red cards2
 
0

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Published: Saturday 25 February 2012, 2.05CET

AZ take aim at Udinese

AZ Alkmaar must be wary as they play host to Udinese Calcio in the UEFA Europa League round of 16, though the Italian side have yet to score a goal on Dutch soil.

AZ Alkmaar must be on their guard in the UEFA Europa League round of 16 as they play host to an Udinese Calcio side who set a club record with a 3-0 away win in their last European game.

Previous meetings
• The teams are meeting for the first time in UEFA club competition.

• AZ have played only one tie against an Italian club, losing out to FC Internazionale Milano in the 1982/83 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup second round. They won 1-0 at home but went down 2-0 at San Siro.

• Udinese have played three games against Dutch clubs, with the record W1 D0 L2 (W0 D0 L2 in the Netherlands). They have yet to score a goal on Dutch soil, following a 1-0 defeat by AFC Ajax (1997/98 UEFA Cup second round) and a 2-0 loss at NEC Nijmegen in the 2008/09 UEFA Europa League group stage.

Match background
• AZ are on a nine-match unbeaten run in Europe − four victories and five draws.

• The Kaaskoppen (Cheeseheads) are unbeaten in seven European home games – five wins and two draws – since a 2-1 defeat by FC Dynamo Kyiv in the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League group stage.

• The Dutch outfit are playing European football in the spring for the first time since 2006/07, when they beat Fenerbahçe SK and Newcastle United FC before bowing out to SV Werder Bremen in the UEFA Cup quarter-finals.

• This is Udinese's third tilt at the round of 16; they lost out to PFC Levski Sofia in 2005/06 but overcame FC Zenit St Petersburg to reach the 2008/09 quarter-finals.

• Udinese's 3-0 win at PAOK FC in the round of 32 ended an eight-game wait for a European away win, a run which featured three draws and five defeats.

Team facts
• Udinese's 3-0 win at PAOK in their round of 32 decider was their biggest away win in European competition, and matched their most emphatic winning margin in UEFA games – they have won three continental home matches by three goals.

• Eight of AZ's 12 UEFA Europa League goals have come between the 16th and 45th minutes.

• Udinese are the lowest scoring side to have reached this stage, having hit just nine goals in eight games since the start of the UEFA Europa League group stage.

• Udinese defender Joel Ekstrand and AZ midfielder Rasmus Elm played together with Sweden as they hosted the 2009 UEFA Under-21 European Championships.

• AZ coach Gertjan Verbeek spent most of his playing career as a defender at sc Heerenveen, barring a season on loan at Heracles Almelo in 1986/87. He has twice coached Heracles (2001-04 and 2009-10) either side of stints in charge of Heerenveen (2004-08) and, briefly, Feyenoord in 2008/09. AZ brought him in at the start of 2010/11.

• Udinese coach Francesco Guidolin spent the bulk of his playing days with Hellas-Verona FC. His coaching career included a stint in France at AS Monaco FC in 2005/06. Since then he has been in charge of US Città di Palermo and Parma FC, taking over for a second spell at Udinese in 2010. He successfully guided Monaco through the 2005/06 UEFA Cup group stage but missed out with Palermo the following season.

Competition statistics
• An updated version of the UEFA Europa League Statistics Handbook is available here:
http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuropaleague/news/newsid=1750416.html

Last updated: 05/03/12 16.43CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuropaleague/season=2012/matches/round=2000274/match=2007457/prematch/background/index.html#az+take+udinese

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