Heracles out to attack

The Almelo club won a pulsating first leg 3-2 at the Polman Stadion

on Thursday night in a match Bosz’ attack-minded side could have

won by more had they taken their chances. Swedish striker Samuel

Armenteros led the way with a double but Heracles, who had raced

into a 2-0 lead after 15 minutes, had to be content with a

single-goal victory after Groningen’s Leandro Bacuna scored in the

second half to minimise the damage ahead of Sunday’s return leg.

“It was a real battle and easy to enjoy as a coach and lover of the

game,” coach Bosz said. “It had the intensity of a European tie,

but the only annoying thing was that we were unable to win by more

than 3-2.” Bosz has pledged to attack in the away leg, adding: “In

away games we nearly always score, so why not again on Sunday? “If

we do that there is a great chance for us to progress. We are full

of confidence.” Groningen only missed out on securing direct entry

to Europe on the final day of the regular season and boss Pieter

Huistra admitted the disappointment may have affected his side on

Thursday. “We are still in the tie but there is plenty of work to

be done,” he said. “We need to wake up on Sunday or it will be

difficult for us. We have to be sharper and better. We are in front

of our own crowd so hopefully that will inspire us.” In the other

Europa League play-off semi-final ADO Den Haag are favourites to

progress after they ignored the formbook to beat Roda JC 4-2. ADO

lost their final four games of the season but shot into a

three-goal lead inside 23 minutes to steal the initiative. They

will, however, be without Dmitri Bulykin for the second leg after

he was sent off on Thursday night, although Wesley Verhoek returns

from his suspension. Leading goalscorer Mads Junker returns from

suspension for Roda to provide them plenty of hope after his 20

goals this season. The second leg of the promotion/relegation

semi-final play-offs also take place on Sunday, with Eredivisie

clubs VVV-Venlo and Excelsior looking to take the first steps

towards retaining their top-flight status. VVV are in a strong

position as they take a 2-1 lead into their home tie with

Voldendam, but Excelsior are more vulnerable after drawing 3-3 with

Den Bosch, who finished eighth in the Eerst Divisie, in their first

leg. Should VVV progress they will meet the winner of the other

semi-final in their section, between FC Zwolle and Cambuur, for the

right to play in next season’s top-flight. Cambuur lead 2-1 after

their surprise win over Zwolle. Should Excelsior go through they

will play either Helmond Sport or Veendam, who drew 3-3 in their

first leg ahead of the return in Helmond.