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UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE

Struncovy Sady

Referee: K Jakobsson | Attendance: 11067

* Local time based on your geographic location.

Viktoria Plzen

  • Vaclav Prochazka 27'

1 - 0

FT

Vrba wants birthday treat

Viktoria Plzen coach Pavel Vrba has one wish for his 49th birthday - a positive result against defending Europa League champions Atletico Madrid.

Vrba has already guided his side to the knockout stages but they could snatch top place in Group B - and avoid the Champions League teams in the next round - with victory over the pool leaders at the Stadion meste Plzne.

Viktoria have supplied Vrba with good birthday memories before - they drew 2-2 with AC Milan in the Champions League last year - and, after admitting he was only likely to get a ``useful tool or drill'' from his wife, he is hoping his team can provide a more memorable gift.

``We have been renovating our house, so my wife may give me some useful tool as a drill or something like that,'' he told www.uefa.com.

``But from my players I want a decent performance and a good result.

``A year ago on my birthday we played against AC Milan and we drew 2-2 after scoring two goals in the final minutes of the game, so I hope this time it could be the same and we will get at least a point or defeat Atletico.''

Plzen have won all five home games in the competition this season and only lost 1-0 to Atletico earlier in the group stage following a stoppage-time Cristian Rodriguez goal.

Atletico have rested their star names throughout the group stage - Radamel Falcao, Arda Turan and Diego Godin have not featured - and all three were left behind for the trip to Czech Republic.

``I have always considered Atletico to be favourites for top spot,'' Vrba said.

``They have confirmed that by spreading the load across the whole squad. However, we learned in our first game against each other that their quality is tremendous whatever their line-up.''

Speaking about his side's perfect home record this season, Vrba added: ``It is an interesting statistic and we are proud of it.''

Atletico goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo has been used instead of first-choice Thibaut Courtois in Europe this season and is set to get the nod again for a match he admits represents a danger to their ambitions.

With bitterly cold conditions expected, Asenjo is preparing himself for a tough night but warned the Spaniards were determined to finish top of the group.

``It will be a difficult game and the weather is not the best for playing football,'' he told reporters.

``It will be very cold. We want to play a good game and be first in the group, so we can play at home in the second game of the knockout stage.''

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