Our prediction for this Europa League match:
Astana will be looking to get their revenge on AZ Alkmaar for a 6-0 loss in the Netherlands when the two teams face each other at Astana Arena on Thursday afternoon. The Kazakhs, though, are entirely focused on the national championship these days as Kairat are breathing down their neck in the standings, there is every chance head coach Roman Grigorchuk will mix the squad against AZ.
The Dutch outfit are eyeing a place in the Europa League knockout stages, and they are likely to record yet another win over the Kazakhs, who have little to play for in their fourth group game. Dutch rising star Teun Koopmeiners, who scored a brace in the 6-0 win over Astana two weeks ago, will be one of the men to keep an eye on in the away team. Anyhow, AZ Alkmaar, who are more of a team than Astana, are likely to pick up all three points from Thursday’s football match.
Highlighted Player (Firmin Mubele):
Firmin Ndombe Mubele is a DR Congo international, who plays for Toulouse in Ligue 1. The 178-cm tall winger was born in Kinshasa (Zaire) on April 17, 1994, starting his senior career at his hometown club Vita Club. Mubele scored 17 goals for Vita Club in the league before joining Al Ahli in 2015 and in 2017 he moved to France, signing a contract with Rennes.
After spending only one season at Roazhon Park, the Congolese footballer joined Toulouse on loan. Mubele eventually signed a permanent deal with les Pitchouns, who secured the Ligue 1 survival thanks to a win over Ajaccio in the play-off. Firmin Mubele scored his first goal for Toulouse on March 11, 2018 in a 2-1 loss to Olympique Marseille. Speaking of his international career, the Toulouse attacker has established himself as one of best DR Congo footballers.
Mubele scored four goals in eight appearances for DR Congo in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, but that did not help his national team book their place at the showpiece tournament in Russia.
Highlighted Team (AZ):
AZ Alkmaar are a professional football club that play their home matches at AFAS Stadion. The venue was opened on 4 August, 2006 and the construction of the stadium cost €38 million. AFAS Stadion is able to hold 17 023 spectators.
The Cheeseheads were founded on 10 May, 1967 and they won their first trophy in 1981, finishing the season 12 points clear of Dutch giants Ajax. 18 years later AZ clinched their second Eredivisie trophy, with the team finishing the 2008/2009 campaign with 80 points, 11 clear of second-placed Twente. In 1981 the club made it to the UEFA Cup final, but English side Ipswich Town proved to be a big catch for the Dutch team.
AZ’s home kits are red and white and they wear black shirts when playing on the road. The likes of Shota Arveladze, Jozy Altidore, Ron Vlaar, Joris Mathijsen, Graziano Pelle, Simon Poulsen, Moussa Dembele and Sergio Romero are notable footballers who played for AZ in the past.