Gil Vicente’s Conference League campaign nearly over after 4-0 loss at Alkmaar


Gil Vicente suffered a 4-0 loss to AZ Alkmaar in the first leg of the Europa Conference League play-offs. Gilistas led 1-0 with 15 minutes to go before a late capitulation all but ended their chances in the draw.

Dani de Wit’s firm header gave AZ a deserved half-time lead with Mayckel Lahdo, Vangelis Pavlidis and Mees de Wit completing the rout late.

Ivo Vieira’s side never seemed to score in the Netherlands and have virtually no chance of overturning the deficit at Barcelos next week.

One-way traffic

AZ Alkmaar established their dominance early on, with the Dutch club continually probing in and around Gil Vicente’s box.

Gil Vicente’s rare forays into the final third frequently resulted in failures, with the AZ defenders effortlessly coping with the danger posed by Ali Alipour and Elder Santana.

The breakthrough came in the 24th minute, with Milos Kerkez’s measured cross finding Dani de Wit who got in front of Henrique Gomes and powered his header into the net.

AZ seemed happy to let the Portuguese club have the ball as there was simply no penetration. Danilo Veiga was advancing but his passes were often wide of the target or found teammates who couldn’t control the ball.

The game heated up at half-time, with Kerkez’s late challenge on Kanya Fujimoto seeing the left-back booked alongside Sam Beukema and Henrique Gomes.

Gil Vicente holds on

Gil Vicente continued to feed on leftovers in the second half with Giorgi Aburjania’s free kick going over the bar.

Myron van Brederode proved to be a real handful on the left wing, dominating Viega and forcing Aburjania into a booking for stopping the 19-year-old winger from clearing.

AZ started to put the pressure on, with Tijjani Reijnders playing a nice 1-2 with Dani de Wit which forced a smart save from Andrew.

Ivo Vieira tried to turn things around in the 61st minute with Matheus Bueno and Kevin Villodres introduced for Aburjania and Santana.

Gil Vicente seemed content to have men behind the ball and preserve the one-goal disadvantage, a dangerous tactic with AZ smelling blood in the water and the crowd starting to ignite.

Pascal Jansen made his first two substitutions in the 72nd minute when Milos Kerkez and Myron van Brederode made way for Mees de Wit and Mayckel Lahdo.

Vangelis Pavlidis saw a shot saved from close range after a shocking turnover from Bueno, but the Dutch didn’t have to wait long for another chance to double their advantage.

Late attack

The goal came in the 78th minute, Hakon Evjen’s dangerous cross clearing the post from Lucas Cunha who had replaced Tomás Araújo less than 60 seconds earlier, the ball falling directly to Lahdo who made no mistakes from close range .

Andrew came off his line to take the ball from Pavlidis a yard inside his penalty area, but the Greek striker would not be denied. Viega’s poor pass was picked up by Reijnders, he fed Pavlidis who burst into the box and got inside two defenders before shooting past the Brazilian keeper.

If 3-0 wasn’t enough, Gil Vicente’s capitulation was complete in the 89th minute when the draw was put out of reach. A 1-2 routine between Reijnders and Yukinari Sugawara saw Sugawara’s cross find an unmarked Mees de Wit at the far post.

Disappointment for Ivo Vieira

Ivo Vieira gave three players their first starts of the season; Tomás Araújo, Giorgi Aburjania and Elder Santana. Araújo and Santana were making their first appearances, Aburjania previously playing 22 minutes on the bench in the return leg against Riga.

The lack of cohesion was evident throughout but regardless, Vieira and his team would have been content to come back to Barcelos trailing 1-0 in the draw. It will be difficult to convince his team that they can overturn the 4-0 deficit at Barcelos.

In the end, AZ’s 4-0 victory is not so surprising. The Dutch club finished last season with a 6-1 win over Vitesse and crushed Dundee United 7-0 in their previous game at Alkmaar.

By Matthew Marshall

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