Aris requiring memorable comeback
UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE - 3rd QUALIFYING ROUND (LEG 2)
AGONAsport previews the second leg of the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round tie between Aris and Molde.
Aris have dug themselves a very large hole. Taking into account their strong squad and high ambitions, Aris are certainly worthy of a place in the group phase, but they require a football miracle to keep their Europa League dream alive.
The first leg in Norway couldn’t have been any worse. Molde, a team which is unbeaten at home for 18 months and doesn’t require any favours, took advantage of some terrible Aris mistakes to score three unanswered goals. All three Molde goals were certainly avoidable, and to make matters worse, key defender Fran Velez received a straight red card in the second half. The lack of an away goal could come back to haunt Aris.
Aris must win by four goals to win the tie outright, but if the game finishes 3:0 in the Greeks’ favour, the match will go to extra time. In the event Molde score, Aris will need to win by four goals in the 90 minutes, as a scoreline such as 4:1 or 5:2 will see the Norwegians progress on the away goals rule.
The Thessaloniki club are unbeaten in 27 consecutive European matches at the Kleanthis Vikelidis Stadium, winning 13 of those games and drawing 14. The last continental defeat at home was conceded in the 1968/1969 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup against Ujpest FC.
TEAM NEWS: ARIS
Commanding defender Fran Velez is suspended after being sent off in the first leg. In positive news for Aris fans, Hamza Younes is back in the squad after injury, and he boosts the attacking options available to Savvas Pantelidis.
Possible line-up: Cuesta, Korhut, Rose, Delizisis, Sundgren, Lucas Sasha, Matilla, Larsson, Diguiny, Fetfatzidis, Ideye.
TEAM NEWS: MOLDE
Molde, the second-placed team in the Eliteserien, did not play at the weekend and travelled to Greece with a healthy squad. Considering their 3:0 advantage, Molde will surely opt for a more defensive approach in Thessaloniki, but their head coach Erling Moe has urged his players not to think about the aggregate scoreline.
Possible line-up: Craninx, Haugen, Gabrielsen, Bjørnbak, Haraldseid, Hussain, Aursnes, Omoijuanfo, Hestad, Eikrem, James.
REFEREE: ROB HARVEY (IRL)
Irish referee Rob Harvey will take charge of proceedings at the atmospheric Kleanthis Vikelidis Stadium.
This summer, the 30-year-old has already refereed a European game, as he oversaw the Alashkert - FCSB (0:3) match in Europa League qualifying. Harvey has previously been the referee for one UEFA Champions League qualifier and four in the Europa League.
Referee: Rob Harvey (IRL)
Assistant referees: Wayne McDonnell (IRL), Mark Gavin (IRL)
Fourth official: Paul Mclaughlin (IRL)