Preview: Tuesday’s five play-off second legs

22 Aug

Roma v Porto
Luciano Spalletti, Roma
This match can give us the keys to enter the most important football competition of Europe! I have no stress: my players know how important this game is. We are at our home, in our stadium. We will have to show that we can win difficult matches against a Porto that will be trying to score, because that is what they need. I don’t believe in destiny, though; I believe in guts and determination.

Highlights: Porto 1-1 Roma

Nuno Espírito Santo, Porto
To qualify we have to continue what we have been doing until now this season: we have to play as a team and refuse to give up. In the first leg we had some good chances, especially in the second half. I think we deserved another result, but that’s in the past. We will be the away team and in the stadium there will be a particular atmosphere, so our organisation on the pitch will be fundamental.

The first leg finished 1-1, Porto’s André Silva equalising from the spot after team-mate Felipe had inadvertently deflected past Iker Casillas midway through the first half. Roma played almost an hour with ten men following the dismissal of Thomas Vermaelen (41) on his debut for the Serie A side.

Monaco v Villarreal
Leonardo Jardim, Monaco
We are going to play like we did in the first leg, with a positive attitude. We can do something great, so we will try and play our best football and qualify. Villarreal are strong and like a lot of ball possession, with great quality on the flanks. They have a lot of quality.

Highlights: Villarreal 1-2 Monaco

Fran Escribá, Villarreal
The team is OK if a bit tired because we have a lot of injured players and we have played many games already, but we will be ready. We are optimistic. We have enough weapons to overturn the first leg. The first goal could be decisive. We will try not to make as many mistakes as we did in the first leg. If we do that, if we show efficiency, I see no reason why we shouldn’t qualify.

Monaco won 2-1 at El Madrigal last week. Fabinho put the visitors in front from the spot and though Pato headed the equaliser on his Villarreal debut, Jardim’s men ran out winners thanks to a stunning individual effort from Bernardo Silva.

Plzeň v Ludogorets
Roman Pivarník, Plzeň
We will do everything we can to get back into the tie. We have to score the opening goal – that is crucial – and we need at least two goals on the night but we must remain responsible at the back. I expect Razgrad to play their compact football and try to control the ball.

Highlights: Ludogorets 2-0 Plzeň

Georgi Dermendzhiev, Ludogorets
There is no reason to think it is all done and dusted because Viktoria Plzeň are a very good team. We will try to play our football and score the opening goal. But at the same time it will be very important not to concede. Qualification would be a tremendous success – not only for our club but for Bulgarian football as a whole.

• A penalty from Cosmin Moţi, hero of Ludogorets’ shoot-out triumph over Steaua Bucureşti at this stage of the 2014/15 competition, and Virgil Misidjan’s smart finish sealed a 2-0 home victory for the Bulgarian outfit in the first leg.

Legia v Dundalk
Besnik Hasi, Legia
We are mentally prepared for the match and we can beat Dundalk. We may not be doing well in domestic competition, but European football is completely different. Dundalk will have to attack because they need to score, but with our determination, we can achieve our goal.

Highlights: Dundalk 0-2 Legia

Stephen Kenny, Dundalk
We are coming here 2-0 down but we will give it our all to recover. We have to trust our players and think positive. We are excited to playing in this environment as we came from nothing to become champions of Ireland and qualified for the UEFA Europa League [at the minimum]. Now we are on course of something extraordinary.

• Nemanja Nikolić’s 56th-minute penalty, his fifth goal in this season’s competition, was supplemented by substitute Aleksandar Prijovic at the death as Legia triumphed 2-0 in the first leg.

Hapoel Beer-Sheva v Celtic
Barak Bakhar, Hapoel
Anything is possible in football and we will try to serve Celtic a reminder of that. I’m sure our crowd will match the atmosphere of Celtic Park and while we wanted to get back to Israel with a much more favourable scoreline, we will represent our club with dignity and see how it ends up.

Highlights: Celtic 5-2 Hapoel

Brendan Rodgers, Celtic
It’s been a very good week for us. We have put ourselves in a great position. It’s going to be a tough, tight game but we have our three goals and confidence, which put us in a very good position. Qualifying for the Champions League was our first objective this season. We have two hands on the prize and a tight grip as well.

• Hapoel, beaten 5-2 last week, require a three-goal win or greater to progress to the group stage. Their biggest victory in UEFA competition is a 2-0 success against SK Tirana in the 1995/96 UEFA Cup preliminary round.

Reporting from Marco Ghighi, Boaz Goren, Daniel Olkowicz, Ondřej Zlámal and Sébastien Blanchard.

Wednesday’s fixtures
APOEL v FCK (0-1)
Salzburg v Dinamo (1-1)
Man City v Steaua (5-0)
Rostov v Ajax (1-1)
Mönchengladbach v Young Boys (3-1)


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