Trabzonspor hopes to maintain good run against Legia Warsaw
Trabzonspor players celebrate a goal against Legia Warsaw in the Europa League. The Black Sea Storm is unbeaten in the competition this year and is on course to qualify for the next round. DHA photoTrabzonspor is hoping to take another step toward qualifying for the knockout stages of the Europa League when it visits Legia Warsaw.
The Black Sea Storm leads its Group J with seven points after three games, two points ahead of Lazio. Greek Cyprus’ Limassol has four points while Legia Warsaw is sitting fourth without a single point.
A win in Warsaw will virtually see Trabzonspor through to the next round, but even in a draw the Turkish side will remain in the driving seat of the group.
Elsewhere, Lazio takes on Apollon. Both games start at 10:05 p.m. Turkish time.
Meanwhile, tournament favorite Tottenham Hotspur’s manager Andre Villas-Boas is hoping to put his side’s struggles in front of goal on the domestic front behind them as it looks to seal Europa League progress against Sheriff Tiraspol.
Spurs have scored just nine times in 10 games in the Premier League this season, including three times from the penalty spot, and the 0-0 stalemate against Everton on Nov. 3 has led to increased scrutiny on their misfiring attack.
No goal problems in Europe
However, the Spurs have not had such problems in Europe thus far, scoring 15 goals in five matches, with Jermain Defoe netting six of those to equal Martin Chivers as the club’s record scorer in continental competition.
As a result, the London outfit sits top of Group K with a maximum nine points and a win at home to the Moldovans at White Hart Lane will seal its place in the competition’s knockout stages with two matches to spare.
Spurs were due to assess the condition of goalkeeper Hugo Lloris yesterday after the France captain was knocked out but got up to play on during the draw at Everton.
Swansea City could also qualify if it wins away to Kuban Krasnodar and Swiss side St Gallen lose at home to Valencia in Group A – a scenario that would see the Spaniards progress too.
Swansea lost 1-0 away to Cardiff City in the South Wales derby in the Premier League on Sunday and manager Michael Laudrup is hoping for a return to winning ways despite the arduous journey to Krasnodar, which lies more than 1300 kilometers south of Moscow.
Swansea’s long journey to Krasnodar
“It’s always good to have another game soon after a defeat, but we have to remember it’s another competition,” Laudrup told UK media.
“Fortunately the game on Thursday is only five hours’ flight away and four hours’ time difference! “It’s a lot of travelling, but I’ve said it before and I will say again the reason for the European games is that we deserve them – we won the cup last year so we are in Europe.”
Swansea had to learn a hard lesson when they hosted Kuban last month, having to settle for a 1-1 draw when Djibril Cisse scored a stoppage-time penalty for the Russians.
“We will try to go to Russia and do well because we have some history with them after they scored in the last seconds against us,” former Danish international superstar Laudrup added.
Elsewhere, Wigan Athletic must also travel to Russia, taking on Rubin Kazan in Group D knowing a win will see them leapfrog their opponents into first place in the section.
A host of teams can seal qualification for the last 32 on Thursday, including Fiorentina, who have maximum points in Group E as they prepare to go to Romania to face Pandurii, and Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt, who go to Israel to take on Maccabi Tel-Aviv.