AZ Alkmaar ace uses Celtic inside knowledge for crucial Euro tie

By Dave Flanigan

August 11, 2022

AZ Alkmaar forward Vangelis Pavlidis has revealed that he asked Celtic star Giorgios Giakoumakis for the lowdown on Dundee United before the Dutch side’s first leg Europa Conference League qualifier against the Tangerines last Thursday.

The Greek came closest for AZ on Tayside, who were beaten by Glenn Middleton’s winner on the hour, but their frustrations weren’t from a lack of intel – as Pavlidis’ fellow countryman provided notes on the Tannadice side.

As reported by The Courier, Pavlidis said: “I asked Giorgos Giakoumakis about Dundee United because I wanted to prepare myself for the game.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

“I spoke to him before the first leg but now we have played them so we know more and are focused. He explained a few things to us, which was good.

“We have showed before that we can change these scores around. It wasn’t surprising how Dundee United played, we knew it would be difficult. Tomorrow will be a big difference compared to last week. We have good enough players to score goals.

“We haven’t even thought about going out. We are only thinking about winning. AZ are a big club who has to play in Europe. Our status is to be there, so we have to give everything.”

Few will know Dundee United better than Giakoumakis, the Greek scored three times against the Taysiders last season, including the opener in the eventual league-clinching game for Celtic at Tannadice.

He will hope for a better outcome for his international teammate in the second leg tonight, as AZ host United at the AFAS Stadion in Alkmaar.

The winner of the tie will face either Latvia’s FC Riga or Portugal’s Gil Vicente for a place in the Europa Conference League group stages, with that match-up also delicately poised after a 1-1 draw in the first leg in the Latvian capital.

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