- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 22, 2014

LONDON (AP) - Defending champion Sevilla will seek to strengthen its position as the Group G leader when the Europa League returns for the third round of matches Thursday.

Tottenham has to turn the page on Saturday’s 4-1 defeat at Manchester City when it meets Asteras Tripolis, while fellow Premier League club Everton plays Lille. Everton will need to keep a close eye on Belgium forward Divock Origi, signed from Lille by city rival Liverpool in the offseason and then lent back to the northern French club.

Elsewhere, Torino’s Fabio Quaglierella gets a chance to test his goal-scoring start to the season against HJK Helsinki and Wolfsburg, without several key players, seeks its first win of the competition at Krasnodar.

Here are some things to know about Thursday’s games:



Defending champion Sevilla of Spain has only two losses through 11 games in all competitions this season and can strengthen its grip on Group G with a win at Belgium’s Standard Liege.

Unai Emery’s team has climbed to second place in the Spanish league behind Barcelona with six wins, one draw and one loss to start the season. If Sevilla takes a point against Villarreal next weekend, it will set its best start to the Spanish league in club history.

But first it needs to end a mini-slump away from Spain where it has gone winless in three outings. Sevilla’s last away win in Europe was at crosstown rival Real Betis in the round of 16 last season.

Colombia striker Carlos Bacca leads Sevilla with six goals but has yet to score in the Europa League this campaign.

Villarreal, for its part, hosts FC Zurich. The Swiss club has failed to score a goal in four defeats, all by Real Madrid, in previous visits to Spain.



Tottenham coach Mauricio Pochettino will be demanding a positive response from his players at home to Group C leader Asteras Tripolis after it was thrashed 4-1 at English Premier League champion Manchester City on Saturday.

Roberto Soldado was a surprise starter ahead of Emmanuel Adebayor in attack at City, but missed a penalty. Pochettino must decide either to continue with the Spain striker or bring back the Togolese international Adebayor.

“I felt good on the pitch and my confidence was up when I went to take the penalty, but the keeper saved it,” Soldado said. “Now we need to forget this game ahead of Thursday. We are producing good performances and we need to keep this going. I am working hard and I think the goals are coming soon.”

Tottenham is third in Group C after two draws.



Lille striker Divock Origi will have extra motivation to score against Everton.

The 19-year-old Belgium forward is on loan from Liverpool, the fierce city rivals to Everton in the Premier League.

He was impressive in scoring against Russia at the World Cup and was outstanding in the 2-1 win against the United States which sent the Red Devils through to the quarterfinals.

A quick, muscular forward with a good touch and outstanding with his back to goal, Origi has scored three times in eight league games this season and one more in the Europa League.

Lille needs Origi to find his scoring touch after drawing its opening two games against Russian club Kuban Krasnodar and Germany’s Wolfsburg.

Origi will be keen to be on the winning side against his international teammates Romelu Lukaku and Kevin Mirallas, who both play for Everton.

“We gently wound each other up,” he said of Mirallas. “He told me they would come here and win. I replied that we won’t let that happen…”



Fabio Quagliarella is doing his best to help Torino forget the departures of Ciro Immobile and Alessio Cerci.

The former Juventus striker’s goal in Sunday’s 1-0 win over Udinese was his fifth in as many games, including a penalty in Torino’s 1-0 victory over Copenhagen in the last round of Europa League matches.

Torino expected problems in attack after Italy forwards Immobile, who led Serie A with 22 goals last season, and Cerci departed for Borussia Dortmund and Atletico Madrid respectively.

But Quagliarella, who struggled with injuries and a lack of playing time at Juventus, has eased that worry.

“At the beginning of the season, there was talk about an attacking crisis and I was worried about not having enough chances,” Quagliarella said. “But I’ve found a lot of enthusiasm and a club with big ambitions.”

Torino, which now hosts HJK Helsinki in Group B, is yet to concede in six European games this season.

Torino and the three other Serie A teams - Inter Milan, Fiorentina and Napoli - in the group stage remain unbeaten with seven wins and one draw between them, scoring 15 goals and conceding one.



Wolfsburg is without a victory in the Europa League and likely considers the trip to Krasnodar as an opportunity to end that run. However, it may be missing some important players.

Ricardo Rodriguez, one of the Bundesliga’s best left backs, could not train Tuesday because of knee and hamstring problems.

Midfielder Aaron Hunt had to stop training because of ankle pains and Denmark striker Nicklas Bendtner could only jog.

Bendtner missed Saturday’s trip to Freiburg, where Wolfsburg won 2-1, and has been criticized for his performances. Bendtner says he’s not receiving enough crosses.

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