x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

PSV hoping to seal qualification while Roma battle Basel

Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven host Sparta Prague tonight in a match to decide the winner of Group K.

Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven host Sparta Prague tonight in a match to decide the winner of Group K. PSV, who lead the group on eight points, can seal top spot if they beat their opponents, while a win for the Czech side will see them qualify - and move top in the process - if the group's other game, between FC Copenhagen and CFR Cluj, ends in a draw. But the PSV coach Fred Ruttem is wary of Sparta, whose coach Jozef Chovanec makes a welcome return to the Philips Stadion, where he lifted two Eredivisie league titles with PSV between 1988 and 1991.

"They are a stable team, which is borne out by their statistics," said Rutten. Elsewhere, Roma host Group E leaders Basel in a match which will be crucial for both sides' qualification hopes. Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi played up the importance of the tie, saying a win would set them perfectly up for the much-anticipated Rome derby in Serie A this weekend. "This is an important week for us and I wanted to be ready. We host Basel knowing that a win could see us through to the next round and then we take on Lazio in the city derby on Sunday," said De Rossi.

The Swiss club lead the group on nine points, while Roma sit behind them on seven. But with Fulham, third in the group on five points, playing bottom club CSKA Sofia at Craven Cottage, nothing is decided as far as who will progress. Sofia coach Luboslav Penev will miss the trip to west London because unpaid bank loans mean he is unable to leave Bulgaria. Penev, who was issued with a ban on travelling because of the unpaid debts, is shocked an appeal lodged to overturn the decision failed.

"I'm extremely disappointed because the ban imposed on me goes against any logic," Penev complained. Elsewhere, Shakhtar Donetsk host Club Brugge in Group J. The Belgian side can secure qualification with a win. @Email:emegson@thenational.ae