Kanoute optimistic ahead of Europa tie
Sevilla striker Frederic Kanoute is confident his team can overturn their 2-1 deficit against Hannover in tomorrow's UEFA Europa League play-off second leg. The Bundesliga team head to southern Spain with the upper hand thanks to a brace from Jan Schlaudraff last week, but Sevilla's first-leg scorer Kanoute believes the 2006 and 2007 UEFA Cup winners can turn the tie around.
"It will not be easy and we will have difficulty at first but with public support and the effort of the players during the game, I'm sure we will break down their defence," the former Mali forward said on Marca. "It is no use saying that we are better. I think we are, but we must show it." Club president Jose Maria del Nido is also upbeat. He said: "Sevilla have the potential to advance through the qualifying stage."
Sevilla's La Liga rivals Athletic Bilbao and Atletico Madrid are also in European action tomorrow night. Bilbao travel to Turkey to take on Trabzonspor after a goalless first leg, while 2010 Europa League winners Atletico head to Portugal with a 2-0 lead over Guimaraes. Los Rojiblancos will be without star striker Diego Forlan, who has been given permission to remain in Spain as he is "considering joining another team", the club revealed today.
Another German side involved in a tie that could produce a shock is Schalke, who host HJK Helsinki trailing 2-0. However, Die Königsblauen coach Ralf Rangnick is positive about his team's chances in the second leg. "At home we're capable of scoring three, four or five as we did against Cologne - we have the quality to do that," he said.
In Italy, Rome rivals Lazio and Roma are both in action after contrasting first-leg results. Lazio travel to Macedonia on the back of a convincing 6-0 thrashing of Rabotnicki at the Stadio Olimpico, which included a double from Djibril Cisse, while Roma look to bounce back after losing 1-0 in Slovakia to Slovan Bratislava.
Stoke host FC Thun hoping to secure a group-stage spot following a 1-0 win in Switzerland but will have to do so without suspended duo Robert Huth and Matthew Etherington. Potters defender Danny Pugh insists his side still have plenty of work to do despite their advantage. "It's not done and dusted by any means - no way," he said on www.stokecityfc.com. "We have a huge job to finish off and we know from last week they are a pretty decent team who like to get the ball down and play a little bit."
Birmingham are also back on home soil having secured a credible 0-0 draw against Nacional in Portugal. Tottenham appear as good as through to the group stage following a ruthless 5-0 demolition of Hearts at Tynecastle last week, while Fulham also hold a comfortable lead - they travel to Ukraine to take on Dnipro with a 3-0 advantage.
Sochaux welcome Ukrainian side Metalist to France with the tie deadlocked at 0-0. Fellow French sides Rennes and Paris St Germain also host fixtures but both have leads - Rennes 2-1 against Red Star Belgrade and PSG 4-0 over Luxembourg's Differdange. PSG midfielder Blaise Matuidi remains cautious despite his team's healthy advantage. He said on www.psg.fr: "As we say in football, 'you can't take anything for granted'. We'll be taking this match very seriously, even if we know we took a big step towards qualifying when we won the first leg 4-0. We hope to play well at home and record another win."
Dutch clubs PSV Eindhoven and AZ Alkmaar both have it all to do in their respective encounters, PSV 0-0 with Austrian outfit Ried and AZ trailing 2-1 to Norwegian side Aalesund. Scottish champions Rangers entertain Slovenian side Maribor at Ibrox looking to overturn a 2-1 deficit, with Glasgow rivals Celtic travelling to Switzerland to face FC Sion after a goalless first leg.
In selected other ties, Spartak Moscow and Legia Warsaw line up in Russia with the tie level at 2-2, Anderlecht hold a 2-1 lead for their home leg against Turkish side Bursaspor and Maccabi Tel-Aviv head to Athens with a 3-0 advantage over Panathinaikos.