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Europa Conference League: West Ham seeking Cyprus success

The round of 16 phase continues in the Europa Conference League on Thursday with West Ham among the sides hoping to set up a platform to reach the quarter-finals.

Lazio and AZ Alkmaar played the first leg of their last-16 tie on Tuesday evening, with the Dutch side recording an impressive 2-1 victory in the Italian capital.

Hammers to forget their league woes in Cyprus

WhatAEK Larnaca v West Ham
WhereAEK Arena, Larnaca, Cyprus
When17:45, Thursday 9th March
How to watchBT Sport 3
OddsAEK Larnaca 9/2, Draw 3/1, West Ham 4/7

West Ham have the joint-worst away record in the Premier League this season, but they have enjoyed their Europa Conference League trips and are 4/7 to beat Cypriot hosts AEK Larnaca in Thursday's last-16 first leg.

Top-flight survival is the priority for the Hammers, who lost 4-0 at Brighton last weekend to leave them with just six points from 13 away fixtures in the Premier League.

However, David Moyes led them to the Europa League semi-finals last season and they have a great chance of reaching the last eight of the Conference League against 9/2 shots AEK Larnaca.

The Cypriots reached this stage of the competition with a 1-0 aggregate win over Dnipro, but seven of their last eight league matches have featured goals at both ends and six of those games had over 2.5 goals.

The visitors should be confident of troubling the home defence, having won all eight of their Conference League matches this season, scoring 19 goals in the process.

The Hammers have had two 3-0 wins and two 3-1 wins in Europe this term and those scorelines appeal at 10/1 and 14/1 respectively in the Correct Score market.

Striker Gianluca Scamacca has scored just three league goals for the Irons this season, but he has notched four times in four Conference League starts and could get another chance to impress in Cyprus.

The Italian is 9/2 to be the First Goalscorer and 6/4 to find the net at any time against Larnaca.

French side fancied on the road

WhatSheriff Tiraspol v Nice
WhereStadionul Zimbru, Chisinau, Moldova
When17:45, Thursday 9th March
How to watchBT Sport 8
OddsSheriff Tiraspol 7/2, Draw 12/5, Nice 4/5

Sheriff Tiraspol caught the eye in the Champions League last season when they earned a 2-1 win at Real Madrid.

However, they failed to qualify for Europe's premier competition this term, losing to Viktoria Plzen in the third qualifying round, and they eventually sealed a spot in the Europa League group stage.

The Moldovan champions could only finish third in their group, behind Real Sociedad and Manchester United, therefore, they are now in the Conference League - their third European competition this campaign.

The Moldovan champions could only finish third in their group, behind Real Sociedad and Manchester United, therefore, they are now in the Conference League - their third European competition this campaign.

A 3-2 aggregate win over Partizan in the play-off round has set up a difficult-looking round of 16 tie with Nice.

Sheriff are currently in the off-season domestically, the 2022/23 Moldovan Super Liga season starts on 30th July, and a lack of regular football could prove hugely detrimental.

Nice, in stark contrast, are deep into their Ligue 1 campaign, sitting seventh, and building momentum as they enjoy a four-game unbeaten run.

They weren't convincing group winners, finishing ahead of Partizan on head-to-head points, but they didn't lose any of their three away games and they have avoided defeat in four in Ligue 1, winning each of the last three.

Les Aigions are 4/5 To Win but backing a Nice Win To Nil at 13/8 looks the more attractive option.

Sheriff lost their most recent home outing 1-0 when Partizan visited in the play-off round, while Nice have kept three clean sheets in their last four on the road.

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Home form a concern for Anderlecht

WhatAnderlecht v Villarreal
WhereLotto Park, Brussels
When17:45, Thursday 9th March
How to watchBT Sport 7
OddsAnderlecht 16/5, Draw 23/10, Villarreal 1/1

Anderlecht, who sit 10th in the Jupiler Pro League, will be hoping to land a blow on Villarreal when they host in the first leg but their recent record at home suggests they may come up short.

They have won just two of their last seven games across all competitions at Lotto Park, losing three times during that sequence.

During the group stage of the competition, they only managed to win one of their three home fixtures, beating Silkeborg, while they lost to West Ham and drew with FCSB.

That doesn't bode well as Villarreal head to Belgium for the 17:45 clash on Thursday.

Villarreal made easy work of finishing at the top of their group, winning their opening four games before taking their foot off the gas and taking just a point from their last two outings.

The Yellow Submarine go into this fixture in good form following successive victories in La Liga to climb up to sixth and boost their hopes of pushing on for a top-four finish.

The 2020/21 Europa League winners won two of their three away assignments during the group phase and offer good value at 1/1 to come out on top.

Jose Luis Morales, who registered four times in the group, is one to consider at 2/1 to score anytime, having found the back of the net in each of his last three appearances.

Viola know the route to victory

WhatFiorentina v Sivasspor
WhereStadio Artemio Franchi, Florence
When20:00, Thursday 9th March
How to watchBT Sport 3
OddsFiorentina 3/10, Draw 4/1, Sivasspor 10/1

Florence has been a very happy home for Fiorentina in 2022/23 and their fine record isn't likely to come under threat from Sivasspor.

They ran out 2-1 winners when AC Milan visited in Serie A on Saturday and have only lost four of their 20 outings at Stadio Artemio Franchi across all competitions.

Vincenzo Italiano's side finished second to Istanbul Basaksehir in Group A, with head-to-head goal difference required to separate the pair, but they enjoyed an emphatic 7-2 aggregate win over Braga to come through the play-off phase.

A 3-2 win in the second leg when hosting Braga extended Fiorentina's unbeaten home record in the competition to five games, winning four - stretching back to the qualifying play-off round.

Sivasspor topped Group G, finishing a point clear of Cluj, but they are far too inconsistent to side with on the road.

The Turkish outfit have won two of their last five away from home, losing two and drawing one.

Fiorentina tend to get the business done at home but it's rare that they manage to reach the full time whistle without conceding.

They've kept just three clean sheets in 20 games so backing a home win with both teams to score at 9/4 looks the way to go.

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