Pavlidis and Kerkez give AZ a nice win at Lazio Roma

AZ showed that number three in the Eredivisie was no less than number three in Serie A. In Rome, AZ defeated Italy’s Lazio 2-1 to draw in the Round of 16 of the Conference League.

AZ were fighting for a place in the quarterfinals and also for a second Dutch ticket to the 2024/25 Champions League, with an early 1-0 deficit thanks to goals from Vangelis Pavlidis and Milos Kerkez.

Check out star Tijjani Reijnders’ reaction here:

A great win for the Pascal Jansen team, with defenders Bruno Martins Indi and Sam Beukema uninjured. Midfielders Dani de Wit and Riechedly Bazoer were also not available yet. Lazio had not conceded a goal in their last five games.

Typical A to Z gameplay

This “fight” took place in typical A-to-Z gameplay with clean positional play and sometimes lightning-fast combos with early pressure. But if the ball was in the Romans, a team that also loves to play football, coach Maurizio Sarri expected nothing more, AZ backed out significantly at times.

Almost a minute later, it came when Sergej Milinković-Savić tapped the ball after a quick dribble from the left wing from Mattia Zaccagni. Or two minutes later, Kerkez tapped the ball from just outside his own goal in the busy penalty area.

After that, AZ just seemed vigilant and put more and more pressure on the Romans with Tijjani Reijnders, who often played strong. However, as soon as Alkmaarders received the ball, the passes were faulty and the movement speed was often very slow.

Just like in the second twenty minutes of the game when Jordy Clasie, who returned to the starting 11 after being suspended against Vitesse last weekend, lost the ball in midfield. Lazio sprinted back into the middle of Zaccagni, who quickly passed his Mandekker and found Pedro (1-0) who deftly stepped back.

The third Roman chance was a hit, but AZ wasn’t fooled. Alkmaarder bravely continued to play football. A little more in possession of the ball before the break, AZ’s gaze hardened as the first half progressed, despite Sarri’s dismay at first, who was watching casually with no cigarette near his mouth and his reading glasses. and started waving his arms.

Still, AZ got its first big shot only half an hour later. Sven Mijnans finished and the ball flew over a Roman foot into the corner, but goalkeeper Luis Maximiano tapped the ball into the post.

well-deserved compensation

Shortly before halftime, AZ got the compensation it deserved. Also beautiful. Reijnders threw the ball lightly at Karlsson, who found Pavlidis with a hard cross on the first post where he hit the Greek forward’s outside foot. Milikonivc-Savic, who hit the post hard a minute later, showed that the Romans would be tough after the timeout.

This also happened, but Lazio, who missed top striker Ciro Immobile due to injury, could not pass the defense from A to Z except for a big fight after the break. Behind AZ were 18-year-old Wouter Goes and 19-year-old Kerkez.

The lead came after a good push from Clasie after an hour of play. He caught the ball in the midfield and faced Kerkez, who kicked Jesper Karlsson off the left flank. Kerkez himself went over it and pushed the win under the goalkeeper.

Lazio kept pushing, occasionally breaking through Alkmaar’s defenses. Felipe Anderson’s shot went wide and his rebound flew high after being caught by AZ goalie Matt Ryan. The Romans were no more dangerous than a few long shots and some dangerously spinning mids. And that was also the core of AZ’s efforts.

Source: NOS