AZ lost 2-1 at Aston Villa in Birmingham in the Conference League. Because of that defeat, AZ is in bad shape to hibernate in Europe.
The other match in the group between Legia Warsaw and Zrinjski Mostar ended in a 2-0 victory for the Poles. As a result, after four games they now have nine points together with Aston Villa, while AZ and Zrinjski are on three.
If the Alkmaarders still want to have a chance to advance, they must at least win both last games against Legia and Zrinjski.
AZ wakes up after bad start
Already in the third minute, AZ seemed to be behind Villa Park, but the goal was disallowed for offside. Moments earlier, Vangelis Pavlidis had already cleared the ball off the line.
The tone was set, especially with the 1-4 from two weeks ago in the back of my mind. However, the match became more even after that. An attempt by Pavlidis from a great distance was met with a crowd, although the ball went wide.
Little happened in Birmingham for a long time, until a wonderful goal by Pavlidis just before half-time was – rightly – disallowed for offside. Before half time, the Greek had another chance, but this time Villa keeper Emiliano Martínez saved. Last month he was voted best goalkeeper of the year, mainly due to his performance with the Argentina national team.
Partly due to his saved penalties, Argentina won its third world title in Qatar. Martínez saved after the break from another Pavlidis effort, although a cross to Ruben van Bommel might have been more logical.
Yet there was little to regret, because a minute later Pavlidis broke through again and this time the Greek finished it off competently: 0-1.
Villa had to recover for a while, but in the 60th minute the English seemed to produce the equalizer, were it not for Boubacar Kamara who shot the ball across in front of an empty goal. The referee wrongly gave a corner kick that did land, via the head of Diego Carlos: 1-1.
Ten minutes before the end, AZ suffered another setback when Ollie Watkins was able to head in freely from close range after a nice cross from Douglas Luiz. The Alkmaarders were unable to recover from the 2-1 blow, making European wintering very difficult.
The post first appeared on nos.nl