Canaries seeking wins in return Lokomotiv, Ajax legs

Fenerbahandce may have defeated Ajax when the two last met in Istanbul, but the Dutch side has never before lost to Turkish competition on its home soil, while Turkey’s other Europa League representative Beiiktai comes home for its return match with Lokomotiv Moskva.
The Yellow Canaries edged Ajax 1-0 in match day three. The result helped bump them up to the Group A runner-up position with four points, three behind unexpected group leader Molde. The Norwegian side takes on the group’s cellar-dweller Celtic in its own match day four encounter on Thursday.
Brazilian striker Fernandao snatched his third goal of the UEFA season in the clubs’ last meeting to make him the Canaries’ most dangerous player. He scored the other two in quick succession to salvage a 2-2 draw against Celtic in Scotland. Portugal winger Nani’s goal could not save Fenerbahandce from a 3-1 defeat against Molde in the first match.
The fact that the Dutch powerhouse has yet to win only adds to the Canaries’ conviction that they can defeat Ajax once again and shatter its perfect home record against Turkish clubs. But the Canaries should look out for young forward Viktor Fischer, who has scored against both other Group A contenders.
Canary coach Vitor Pereira is gunning for a much-needed win. After a string of questionable results fans and pundits are beginning to whisper about his departure, which he solidly denied after their recent Super League conquest.
“I am well used to this type of speculation and pressure,” he said, noting: “What we need to do now is continue with our work. We want to keep on our current path without losing our faith. I am certain that if we continue on the way we are, we will have many reasons to celebrate at the end of the season.”
h2 Eagles eye toph2 Beiiktai drew 1-1 in Moscow in match day three, which also places them in second place in group H going into the next set of games. It was a solid result for the Black Eagles, as Lokomotiv remains in first place with seven points — that is unless Beiiktai wins. The Eagles have five points, so a favorable scoresheet would propel them to the top.
And with a draw away, a win at home does not seem to be asking too much. The Beiiktai squad is in good health and was in impeccable form until a draw in its last fixture amid a busy schedule. They perch at the top of the Super League standings and coach ienol Gandunei would like nothing more than to put them atop the Europa standings as well.
The Eagles have a tendency to start off strong but peter out as the season wears on and that may prove to be their greatest enemy.
The team’s star striker Mario Gomez is lighting up the net at home and away in the Super League with the most goals so far. His prolific tendencies are not new in Europe. With 41 goals, Gomez is Germany’s fourth highest scorer in UEFA club competition. Gomez was also the protector of Beiiktai’s interests in the Moscow leg, equalizing just 10 minutes after Maicon put Lokomotiv ahead.
But the Eagles tend to be a one-goal club, at least in Europa, having scored just one each against other Group H contenders Sporting Lisbon for a draw and Skenderbeu for a win. Turkey winger GandOkhan TandOre scored on Sporting and Argentinean midfielder Jose Sosa hit Skenderbeu’s net, so the results nevertheless demonstrate Beiiktai’s flexibility on the pitch.
Beiiktai-Lokomotiv kicks off at 7 p.m. at Atatandurk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul, while Ajax takes on Fenerbahandce at 9 p.m. on Thursday.

SOURCE: TODAY’S ZAMAN

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