AZ slides into Conference League play-offs, defeating Dundee United 7-0
Alkmaar football club AZ defeated Dundee United on Thursday night, to keep their dream of entering this year’s Conference League alive. AZ won at home by a score of 7-0, with the Scottish side having won the first leg by a score of 1-0. The Dutch Eredivisie team will next meet Gil Vicente, the football club from Barcelos, Portugal, in a playoff for a group stage placement in the Conference League.
AZ will play the Portuguese team at AFAS Stadion in Alkmaar on 18 August. The second leg will take place a week later at the Estádio Cidade de Barcelos.
Greek national Vangelis Pavlidis scored the first goal from AZ, tapping in the ball 21 minutes into the match on a pass from Hungarian teammate Milos Kerkez. Minutes later, Dundee’s Ian Harkes nearly brought his side level, but goalkeeper Hobie Verhulst stopped the attempt. Then, Tijjani Reijnders, who also helped set up the first goal, scored the Alkmaar team’s second of the night with a bouncing shot along the ground from outside the penalty area that passed goalkeeper Mark Birighitti.
Both Pavlidis and Reijnders scored one more before halftime, with the Greek player putting away a corner from Håkon Evjen in the 36th minute. Five minutes later, Reijnders capitalized on Dundee’s inability to clear the ball away from danger. Evjen Also knocked the ball into the back of the net in the 44th minute on an assist from Pavlidis.
Dani de Wit made it 6-0 one minute after the match resumed when the Dundee defense again collapsed in front of Birighitti. De Wit capitalized with a short, sharp shot when he found the ball in front of his feet a few meters in front of the goalkeeper.
The goal scoring then stopped for nearly 30 minutes, though both Birighitti and Verhulst stepped up to make saves. The seventh goal came in the 74th minute when Mayckel Lahdo fired the ball into the net from just outside the six-yard box.
Pavlidis nearly secured a hat-trick in injury time, but his shot hit the post. Had he scored his team’s eighth goal, it would have Dundee United would have set a new Scottish record for the worst-ever result in European play.
"The boys have lived up to expectations in an impressive way," AZ trainer Pascal Jansen said to RTL7 after the match. He was pleased to see, "The control we had throughout the game, that we were always dominant. Everything we did was of a decent level. I enjoyed many beautiful things."