- PAS Giannina Still Alive! -
UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE - 3RD QUALIFYING ROUND, LEG 1
|AZ Alkmaar||1 - 0||PAS Giannina|
One defensive mistake from PAS Giannina was enough for AZ Alkmaar to earn a 1-0 victory in the first leg of the UEFA Europa League 3rd Qualifying Round. Despite the loss, PAS Giannina is well in contention to progress to the next round as they will host AZ Alkmaar in Greece next week.
AZ Alkmaar started off as the better side with their first chance coming after 30 seconds of play. In the 7th minute, AZ came close to an opener but Michail cleared the ball of the line to deny the hosts. The pace of the game fell midway through the half, with PAS Giannina also creating a few chances of their own. One defensive mistake allowed Luckassen to connect with a corner and his header gave AZ the 1-0 lead in the 36th minute. The Dutch side wasted great opportunities to double their lead late in the first half with Paschalakis coming through with two great saves and Berios stopping a sure goal in stoppage time.
PAS Giannina was much better in the second half as a great tactical display led by the backline (Michail, Tzimopoulos, and Berios) shutdown AZ on the attack. On the offensive end, PAS Giannina could not create opportunities with the Epirotes falling 1-0 at the final whistle.
The 1-0 defeat keeps PAS Giannina well in contention before next week’s match in Greece. The “Ajax of Epirus” will host AZ Alkmaar for the second leg in Athens (Atromitos, Peristeri Stadium) and will hope to get a result that will miraculously put them in the playoff qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League!