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AZ count on Advocaat against Anji

Published: Tuesday 11 March 2014, 11.45CET
AZ Alkmaar lost 6-0 on aggregate to FC Anji Makhachkala 18 months ago, but the Dutch side hope to benefit from Dick Advocaat's "priceless" guidance in the rematch.
by Berend Scholten
AZ count on Advocaat against Anji
Dick Advocaat took over as AZ coach in October ©AFP/Getty Images

Tournament statistics

AZAnji

Goals scored11
 
6
Possession (%)58
 
42
Total attempts137
 
102
on target52
 
27
off target60
 
61
blocked25
 
14
against woodwork2
 
2
Corners43
 
52
Offsides14
 
13
Yellow cards17
 
24
Red Cards0
3
Fouls committed175
 
124
Fouls suffered135
 
137
Passes6054
 
3912
completed4964
 
2989

Press kits

  • Match press kit (local language)

Standings

 
Published: Tuesday 11 March 2014, 11.45CET

AZ count on Advocaat against Anji

AZ Alkmaar lost 6-0 on aggregate to FC Anji Makhachkala 18 months ago, but the Dutch side hope to benefit from Dick Advocaat's "priceless" guidance in the rematch.

AZ Alkmaar suffered their heaviest European defeat at the hands of FC Anji Makhachkala last season, but with Dick Advocaat now at the tiller – and the Russian side much changed – AZ are eager to make amends.

Under Gertjan Verbeek, AZ went down 1-0 at Anji in their 2012/13 UEFA Europa League play-off opener then succumbed to a 5-0 mauling in the return fixture at AZ Stadion, where they welcome Anji for the first instalment of their round of 16 tie on Thursday. The visitors have lost coach Guus Hiddink and most of their squad since the last encounter, with only Kamil Agalarov, Rasim Tagirbekov and Fedor Smolov remaining from 18 months ago, yet hope springs eternal.

"We are delighted we are through to the round of 16 and I hope we will still be in contention in the next round too," said Anji defender Tagirbekov. "AZ Alkmaar will be a big game, a tough game. We played them in the Europa League a year ago and we won 5-0 in the Netherlands, but then we had a team full of stars. I hope we can win this time as well."

AZ have not undergone so dramatic a transformation as their opponents, though they have seen the likes of Jozy Altidore, Maarten Martens and Adam Maher leave, and now have Advocaat in charge. The Dutchman will surely provide the inside track on Anji, having had spells with the Russian national team and FC Zenit, where he lifted the UEFA Cup in 2008.

"The coach is hugely important for us," AZ forward Aron Jóhannsson, who has scored 16 Eredivisie goals this term, told UEFA.com. "With his experience, we can go a long way. He has won this trophy before so his advice at this stage of the competition is priceless."

Defender Nick Viergever, who featured in last season's play-off, also flagged up Advocaat's influence. "He's such a nice guy with a wealth of experience," he said. "He has achieved so much in his career, from being Russia coach to winning lots of domestic trophies. He transmits that experience to our young group of players. He is still very motivated and eager to do well."

Gadzhi Gadzhiev's Anji are bottom of the Russian Premier-Liga with just one victory all campaign, yet the sage Advocaat is not expecting a walkover. "They are not the same team as they were under Guus," acknowledged the 66-year-old. "Anji have changed a lot. How good they are is hard to say, but when you win 2-0 in Genk [as Anji did in the last 32], then you prove you are still capable of doing something."

Last updated: 13/03/14 12.21CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuropaleague/season=2014/matches/round=2000471/match=2012652/prematch/preview/index.html#advocaats+priceless+advice

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