FC Anji Makhachkala may have felt their luck was out after losing 1-0 at AZ Alkmaar in their UEFA Europa League round of 16 opener, but are in with a chance as the focus shifts to Russia for the decider.
• Aron Jóhannsson squeezed a first-half penalty past Anji goalkeeper Mikhail Kerzhakov to settle the match, but AZ withstood sustained pressure from a team throwing caution to the wind.
• Under Guus Hiddink, Anji eliminated Gertjan Verbeek's AZ from the 2012/13 UEFA Europa League play-offs; they won 1-0 in Russia, and 5-0 in Alkmaar – AZ's heaviest European defeat and Anji's biggest European win.
• The teams for the game at Moscow's Lokomotiv Stadium on 23 August 2012 were:
Anji: Gabulov, Samba, João Carlos, Boussoufa, Agalarov*, Jucilei, Eto'o, Tagirbekov*, Shatov, Carcela-González, Traoré (Smolov* 78).
AZ: Esteban*, Marcellis*, Viergever*, Gorter*, Reijnen*, Maher, Falkenburg, Martens, Elm*, Altidore, Beerens* (Berghuis* 74).
*registered to play for the club in this season's competition
• To set up last season's AZ tie, Anji overcame another Dutch side in the third qualifying round, winning 2-0 home and away against Vitesse in their only other encounters with Eredivisie opposition.
• AZ have played six games against Russian teams with the record W2 D1 L3 (W0 D1 L2 in Russia). The aggregate score over those fixtures is 13-8 to the Russian sides.
• Anji are unbeaten in three games in their temporary European home in Ramenskoye (W1 D2) since losing 2-0 to Tottenham Hotspur FC in their first home fixture of this season's group stage.
• AZ came through the group stage without defeat (W3 D3) and are unbeaten in five European away fixtures this season (W3 D2).
• AZ have reached the round of 16 four times since the advent of the UEFA Cup group stage. They made it to the quarter-finals in all three previous attempts, overcoming FC Shakhtar Donetsk in 2004/05, Newcastle United FC in 2006/07 and Udinese Calcio in 2011/12.
• AZ are one of four qualifiers from the group stage who remain unbeaten after nine games; ACF Fiorentina, Olympique Lyonnais and FC Salzburg are the others.
• AZ's Serbian midfielder Nemanja Gudelj is one of only three players left in the competition who have played in all 810 minutes of this season's UEFA Europa League since the start of the group stage: the others are Salzburg goalkeeper Péter Gulácsi and Ludogorets right-back Junior Caiçara.
• Gudelj has committed more fouls (18) than any other player still involved in the 2013/14 UEFA Europa League.
• Anji made it through the group stage at the first attempt under Hiddink last season, losing out to Newcastle on their round of 16 debut after eliminating Hannover 96.
• Anji and NK Maribor were the only sides to have made it through this season's group stage with a negative goal difference, -3 in both cases. Anji scored just four goals in Group K; of the other teams that qualified, only Real Betis Balompié (three goals in Group I) registered fewer.
• Anji come into this encounter as the bottom side in the Russian top division. The club sold most of their prize assets last summer, including Samuel Eto'o, Willian and Mbark Boussoufa.
• A major footballing figure in his native Dagestan, Gadzhi Gadzhiev returned for a fourth spell as Anji boss in summer 2013. A player for FC Spartak Leningrad, he has coached in Azerbaijan and Japan and worked as assistant to Anatoliy Byshovets during his spells in charge of the USSR/CIS and Russia, embarking on the first of his adventures with Anji in 1999.
• AZ dismissed Verbeek ahead of matchday two. He had been in charge since 2010 and led the club to Dutch Cup success last season.
• Dick Advocaat was named AZ coach on 16 October, returning to the club where he spent five months in charge at the end of 2009/10. Twice Netherlands coach, he won the 2007/08 UEFA Cup with FC Zenit, as well as national titles with PSV Eindhoven (1997/98), Rangers FC (1998/99, 1999/2000) and Zenit (2007).
• Advocaat is one of two coaches in the round of 16 to have led a side to victory in this competition before, with SSC Napoli's Rafael Benítez (Valencia CF, 2004 & Chelsea FC, 2013) the other.
• Anji are yet to have a UEFA tie settled on penalties.
• AZ's only UEFA penalty shoot-out ended in a 5-4 loss to FC Barcelona at the Camp Nou in the 1977/78 UEFA Cup second round.
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