Our prediction for this Europa League match:
Buoyed by a 7-1 win over Engordany 9-2 on aggregate in the Europa League first qualifying round, Kairat play host to AZ Alkmaar at their Ortaliq Stadion in Almaty. Kairat seem to be on top of their game at the moment and it has to be noted that they are eyeing their sixth consecutive win in all competitions. The Kazaks are tough to beat at home, meaning that the Dutch side face a difficult task in Thursday’s football match. AZ Alkmaar have been in a fine form in pre-season friendlies and they will be looking to build on back-to-back wins over the likes of Lokeren and Panathinaikos when they square off against Kairat in Almaty. As previously mentioned, Kairat play well in front of home fans and that is the main reason why we believe the two teams are going to share the spoils in the Europa League second qualifying round, first leg.
Highlighted Player (Ron Vlaar):
Ron Vlaar is a professional football player who began his senior career at AZ Alkmaar. The right-footed defender made 10 appearances for the club between 2004 and 2006 and then he joined fellow Eredivisie club Feyenoord.
Vlaar made his Feyenoord debut on 15 January, 2006 against Vitesse and he was playing for de Trots van Zuid until July, 2012. The Dutch defender moved to England on 27 July, signing a three-year deal with Aston Villa. He made 27 league appearances for the Villans in the 2012/2013 Premier League campaign and he was named captain on 15 September, 2012. Ron Vlaar participated in the 2014/2015 FA Cup final, but Aston Villa were beaten by Arsenal in the title game.
In 2015 he returns to AZ Alkmaar and he has been playing for the Dutch team ever since. Speaking of his international career, Vlaar won the UEFA U21 Championship with Netherlands on two occasions (2006, 2007). In 2014 he won the bronze medal with the Oranje at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
Highlighted Team (AZ Alkmaar):
AZ Alkmaar are a professional football club that play their home matches at AFAS Stadion. The venue was opened on 4 August, 2006 and the construction of the stadium cost €38 million. AFAS Stadion is able to hold 17 023 spectators.
The Cheeseheads were founded on 10 May, 1967 and they won their first trophy in 1981, finishing the season 12 points clear of Dutch giants Ajax. 18 years later AZ clinched their second Eredivisie trophy, with the team finishing the 2008/2009 campaign with 80 points, 11 clear of second-placed Twente. In 1981 the club made it to the UEFA Cup final, but English side Ipswich Town proved to be a big catch for the Dutch team.
AZ’s home kits are red and white and they wear black shirts when playing on the road. The likes of Shota Arveladze, Jozy Altidore, Ron Vlaar, Joris Mathijsen, Graziano Pelle, Simon Poulsen, Moussa Dembele and Sergio Romero are notable footballers who played for AZ in the past.