AZ Alkmaar and Celtic will clash on Thursday, August 26, at AFAS Stadion. It will mark the second leg of the Europa League qualifiers finals, with the first ending in a commanding 2-0 victory for Celtics, who will take a trip to the Netherlands with a substantial lead as they look to book a spot in the European competition.
AZ Alkmaar vs Celtic
When: Thursday, August 26 – 20:15 CEST
Where: AFAS Stadion in Alkmaar, Netherlands
Weather: Sunny, 17°C
Referee: Tiago Martins (POR)
Celtic won the reverse fixture 2-0, which should leave them feeling confident as they take a trip to the Netherlands on Thursday, August 26, for the second leg of the Europa League 2021 qualification finals. Still, they should keep in mind that the hosts will want to go all-out and chase the two-goal deficit, so a more defensive approach is expected.
Situations like that usually result in high-scoring affairs, so goals are the main focus for this match. Having said that, the bookmakers often exaggerate with the goal lines, and that’s something we will look to exploit.
An Own-Goal Made It Easier
Celtic won the reverse fixture 2-0, granted they have only scored one goal. The 25-year-old Kyogo Furuhashi opened the scoring with his fourth goal for the Scottish outfit in 12′, which remained the first half’s only goal even though Celtic managed eight attempts and four shots on goal.
AZ Alkmaar took over in the second half with 71% ball possession, yet they failed to produce a single shot on goal. Instead, they scored an own goal in 61′ with the help of Timo Letschert, awarding the Celtic with an added advantage ahead of the second leg match.
Even though the Celtic deserved to win, the final score was harsh on the Dutch squad, who should not have lost by two goals. Celtic have faced St. Mirren on Saturday, who they beat 6-0, adding their sixth consecutive win across all competitions and their second in the Premiership.
Celtic are currently fourth in their domestic competition with a 2-0-1 record and an impressive 13-2 GD. They have won both of their last two outings with 6-0, albeit against Dundee FC and St. Mirren.
AZ Alkmaar Need To Turn It Around
Unlike Celtic, AZ Alkmaar have not played a single match since their loss in Scotland. They have played only one league match on the season, which they lost (0-1) against Waalwijk four days before their meeting with the Bhoys.
They’re now 0-2 in their last two outings, albeit 5-2-3 in their last 10, which includes a 2-1 victory against Torino in a friendly match at the start of August.
Tonight, AZ Alkmaar have a challenging task ahead of them as they need to overcome a considerable deficit. While two goals on its own is an enormous hurdle, it won’t get easier against Celtic, who have managed 19 clean sheets last league campaign (50%) and have managed to finish both of their last two domestic fixtures without conceding.
AZ Alkmaar‘s situation looks dire, knowing that they will need to score four if they concede a goal, so they definitely can’t afford to risk too much while trying to get themselves ahead. Another issue with the Cheeseheads is that they don’t seem like a team that has the needed firepower in the final third to cause much damage – especially against a defensively solid team like Celtic.
AZ Alkmaar vs Celtic Betting Picks
Although many will expect goals tonight, we believe that this will be a more cagey game, where Celtic will do their best to keep the hosts at bay, while AZ Alkmaar won’t want to risk too much not to dig their hole even deeper.
What’s more, AZ Alkmaar are not exactly a team that is known for scoring goals. They have yet to produce one this term, and it’s unlikely that they will manage to cause much damage tonight. Expect a low-scoring affair.
Prediction: Under 3.00 Goals – 1.99 at Sportmarket