AZ Alkmaar jumped up to eleventh in the Eredivisie with a shocking emphatic 4-0 win away to Marco van Basten’s Heerenveen. American international Jozy Altidore grabbed his 22nd and 23rd goals of the season in the process.
With AZ coach and leader Gertjan Verbeek sitting in the stands due to a suspension many pundits would have wrote off their chances of defeating a strong Heerenveen side who have won six of their last eight games with only one defeat. The Cheese Farmers proved those pundits wrong in the Friday night and thumped Van Basten’s men by four goals.
Without the creativity of seasoning Filip Djuricic, who also sat in the stands with a hamstring injury, Heerenveen looked to have no inspiration or determination. Altidore grabbed the first goal after breaking the offside trap and getting goal side of central defender Jeffrey Gouweleeuw. The American placed a shot that forced a save out of goalkeeper Kristoffer Nordfeldt but the ball gratefully feel perfectly for Altidore’s head to nod the away team ahead.
Two minutes later, the lead was doubled. From the left, Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson whipped in a vicious ball to the back post where Roy Beerens was arriving to smash past Nordfeldt.
Heerenveen came out the second half looking for a revival, unfortunately for the home side, this was not produced and the game was all but finished just after the hour.
A great run by Guðmundsson ended by the Icelandic getting on the scoresheet after a cute little backheel from Altidore. The icing was put on the cake three minutes later after AZ were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the box and Altidore grabbed his second. The striker stepped up and took the free-kick quickly and curled it in the left top corner giving Nordfeldt no chance.
Heeremveen currently sit in seventh with a chance of making the Europa League next year through the playoffs while AZ are placed 11th and well out of the relegation trouble now.
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