Our prediction for this Europa Conference League match:
AZ Alkmaar will be aiming to cement top position in Group D when they host Cluj to their AFAS Stadion in round 4 of the Conference League group stages. AZ are on a four-game winning run at home in all competitions, and it should come as no surprise the bookies see them as favourites to win Thursday’s football game. A man to keep an eye on in the home team will be Greece international Pavlidis, while Oosting should miss out through injury.
The Romanian outfit, on the other hand, aim to build on back-to-back wins over Sepsi Sf. Gheorghe and FC Voluntari. Cluj, though, have been struggling on the travels of late, and given AZ’s brilliant home record, anything but a routine home win would be a major surprise. AZ defenders should have Billel Omrani at bay as he scored the winner against Voluntari at the weekend.
Highlighted Player (Bruno Martins Indi):
Bruno Martins Indi was born in Portugal, but his family quickly moved to Rotterdam, where he joined Feyenoord’s youth set-up in 2005. Netherlands international has made his professional debut in 2010 with Feyenoord, where he spent four years as mainstay before a move to FC Porto on the back of impressive display at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Bruno Martins Indi spent most of his career playing as centre-back, but he can equally fill in on various positions in defence. Bruno Martins Indi had been deemed a victim to the extreme recolution in Porto’s central defensive department, having fallen out of favour with Nuno Espirito Santo and even being punished with a place in Porto’s reserves.
During the summer transfer window the 24-year-old defender insisted on a move away from the club with Premier League being his preferred destination. On the final day of the transfer marked Bruno Martins Indi has been set to Stoke City on a season long loan.
Highlighted Team (CFR Cluj):
Cluj are one of the oldest clubs in Romania as they were founded back in 1907 when the city of Cluj-Napoca was part of Austria-Hungary. The Feroviarii host their rivals at Dr. Constantin Radulescu Stadium, the venue which can hold up to 23,500 spectators.
Cluj are one of the most successful Romanian clubs of the 21st century, with the team clinching their fifth domestic trophy in the 2018/2019 season. Universitatea Cluj are considered the club’s fiercest rivals and it has to be noted that they first faced each other back in October, 1920.
The Feroviarii hold rivalries with Dinamo Bucuresti, Rapid Bucuresti, FCSB, Universitatea Craiova and Politehnica Timisoara as well. Speaking of European competitions, Cluj did well to make it to the UEFA Intertoto Cup final in 2005, with the team losing to French club Lens in the double-header. Cluj footballers wear claret shirts and claret shorts when playing at home, whilst the club’s away kit is white.