The last two remaining Dutch sides in European football were in action this evening with one of them looking incredibly likely to be heading out, the other held strong and gained a great away win.
Thursday 20th February 2014
SLOVAN LIBEREC 0-1 AZ ALKMAAR
A late Nick Viergever goal gave AZ Alkmaar the advantage in the first leg of their Europa League Round of 32 tie against Czech side Slovan Liberec.
The Czech side currently sixth in the Gambrinus Liga, were made to pay for an 88th minute mix-up between defence and goalkeeper from a Nemanja Gudelj free-kick and defender Nick Viergever was on hand to prod the ball home into the empty net.
It is a slender lead taken out of a poor match and Dick Advocaat will look to his side to dominate at the AFAS Stadion next Thursday night when the Czechs travel to Alkmaar for the return leg.
LIBEREC: Kovar, Coufal, Kovac, Rajnoch, Fleisman, Sural, Sackey, Rybalka, Frydek, Pavelka, Budnik (Pimpara 86).
SUBS NOT USED: Hrosso, Karisik, Jarolim, Dijka, Kolar, Pokorny.
BOOKINGS: Sackey 45+1, Rybalka 88.
AZ: Esteban, Reijnen, Gouweleeuw, Wuytens, Viergever, Gudelj, Ortiz, Elm, Gudmundsson, Johansson, Beerens.
SUBS NOT USED: De Winter, Johansson, Gorter, Poulsen, Henriksen, Berghuis, Avdic.
GOALS: Viergever 88.
BOOKINGS: Reijnen 57, Wuytens 90+2.
AJAX 0-3 RED BULL SALZBURG
Frank de Boer and Ajax were left totally embarrassed by an impressive Red Bull Salzburg who totally deserved their 3-0 win.
Salzburg manager Roger Schmidt declared in yesterday’s press conference that he was coming to Amsterdam to win the game and from the very first whistle you could see the Austrian’s intentions. The far superior Die Roten Bullens stampeded De Boer’s side into the ground and did not let the creators of Total Football play their game.
Before the kick-off, after been previously named in the starting line-up, Danish midfielder Lasse Schöne, the hat-trick hero from the weekend win over Heerenveen, went over on his ankle in the pre-match warm up and was forced to be replaced in the eleven by Icelandic forward Kolbeinn Sigthórsson.
Schmidt’s men fired out of the blocks and should have been in the lead after just three minutes of play. A well worked free-kick from the Austrians gifted the unmarked Brazilian Andre Ramalho at the back post with a golden opportunity to hit home the first goal. However, it was a huge let off for Ajax as the Brazilian sliced his volley well over the bar.
The Amsterdammers were rattled from the off and the defensive frailties showed after 13 minutes when Joël Veltman clumsily gave away a penalty for a foul in the area on Brazilian striker Alan. Spanish striker Jonathan Soriano stepped up and sent Jasper Cillessen the wrong way.
Ajax looked awful giving the ball away under constant pressure from the visitors and on 21 minutes, Salzburg winger Sadio Mané doubled the lead. Bojan lost the ball just his opponents half after a strong challenge from Martin Hinteregger and Kevin Kampl picked up the ball. The Slovenian midfielder spotted Mane’s run through the middle and lobbed the ball over to the Senegal winger. Mane easily outsprinted Moisander to reach the ball and skip past Cillessen to make it 2-0.
De Boer sat on the touchline looking like he wanted to ground to swallow him up but it was only to get worse for the Ajax coach. It was an unbelievable moment on 35 minutes as former Barcelona B striker Soriano notched his second goal with an audacious effort and a serious contender for ‘Goal of the Season’. The Spaniard retrieved the ball from Ricardo van Rhijn and observed Cillessen off his line. The goalkeeper, hoping to be selected as the Oranje number one for the upcoming World Cup, did not do himself any favours in front of Louis van Gaal when Soriano shot from the halfway line. The effort was perfect, Cillessen scurried back and leaped to push the ball away, but the Spaniards shot dipped under the cross bar as the Ajax fans sat in shock.
The second-half did not change for the hosts and the team looked out of ideas as Salzburg pressurized the Eredivisie champions into mistake after mistake but at least one positive to come out was that the goals stopped.
It was a pitiful performance from Ajax and they did not even get their first shot on target until three minutes into stoppage time at the end of the second half. Many of De Boer’s stars failed to turn up, De Jong, Klaassen and Sigthórsson were ineffectual, Lerin Duarte looked a shadow of his performances for Heracles this time last year, defensive duo Niclas Moisander and Veltman looked shaky throughout. This game certainly opened up some problems that the coach may need to face in the coming weeks.
They will need at least a 4-0 win over in Austria next Thursday but from this display you would find it hard to see them defeating AZ Alkmaar in the league on Sunday.
AJAX: Cillessen, Van Rhijn, Veltman, Moisander, Duarte (Poulsen 60), Klaassen (Andersen 81), Blind, De Jong, Sigthórsson (Kishna 60), Bojan, Fischer.
SUBS NOT USED: Vermeer, Denswil, Riedewald.
BOOKINGS: Veltman 13, De Jong 27, Blind 77.
SALZBURG: Gulácsi, Schwegler, Ulmer, Hinteregger, Ramalho, Mané, Ilsanke, Leitgeb (Berisha 83), Kampl (Svento 88), Soriano (Zulj 77), Alan.
SUBS NOT USED: Walke, Klien, Meilinger, Schiemer.
GOALS: Soriano 14P, 35, Mané 21.
BOOKINGS: Leitgeb 19, Hinteregger 42.
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