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The Icelandic star has accepted that his side's chances of Europa League progress are slim but is hoping that they can hit the Portuguese giants on the counter


EXCLUSIVE
By Floris Koekenbier

AZ's Johann Gudmundsoon has admitted that his side need Benfica to rest on their laurels if they are to reach the Europa League semi-finals.

The Primeira Liga leaders hold a 1-0 lead from the first leg in Alkmaar and are hot favourites to progress ahead of the clash at Estadio da Luz.

The 23-year-old accepts that his team's chances of progression are slim following their loss on home soil but is hoping they can hurt their opponents on the break.

"Of course, it is going to be very difficult," he told Goal.

"I think that Benfica will be even stronger than in the first leg. They simply have more experience than we have, particularly in these kinds of games.

"We have to make sure we stay well organised in defence and hope to hit them on the counterattack. Anything can happen if we restore parity. Maybe Benfica will underestimate us a bit.

"They might think they're already there after the first leg. We're hoping for such a scenario. We should not be too impressed by anything that happens inside the stadium.

"I am one of the few players who also featured in the quarter-final against Valencia two years ago. Many players have not played a big game in such a stadium before.

"It might affect them. I always tell the younger players to stay calm. These kinds of games only help you in your development. It really benefits you if you get a good result here.

"Regardless of how great their stadium is, we should not let it distract us."

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