Sunday 23rd March 2014
AZ ALKMAAR 2-1 PEC ZWOLLE
After their heroics in Europe this past Thursday, AZ returned to home soil to defeat PEC Zwolle but they made hard work of it.
Anyone thinking that Thursday’s trip to Russia to face Anzhi may have exhausted Dick Advocaat’s side could not have been more wrong after watching the opening 15 minutes. Zwolle were shell-shocked when AZ exploded out of the blocks and went two goals ahead by the quarter of an hour mark.
The first goal was a bit of fluke as Steven Berghuis shrugged off the challenge of Denis Mahmudov to cross a ball from the right wing. The ball looked destined to meet the head of Aron Jóhannsson in the area, but the American striker misjudged his jump and missed the ball. Goalkeeper Diederik Boer was fooled by the miss as the ball crept into the corner of the goal, Berghuis celebrated as the Zwolle ‘keeper look embarrassed.
The lead was doubled eight minutes later, after Simon Poulsen nodded a ball into area, Jóhannsson blasted a shot towards goal but Zwolle defence blocked the effort. Unable to clear, the Zwolle defence had left Nemanja Gudelj unmarked to finish with ease. Ron Jans’ side were crumbling and it looked all over after just 15 minutes.
AZ pressed for more goals but as the half went on they did start to tire and Zwolle got back into the game, against the run of play. Just before the break, Jesper Drost’s cross from the left met the head of Mustafa Saymak, unmarked in the area, and goalkeeper Esteban was wrong footed and was unable to stop the header.
As the game progressed, AZ attacked instead of sitting back and won a penalty after Jóhannsson was fouled in the area by Joost Broerse. The American saw his effort saved by Boer, which was the Zwolle keeper’s third penalty stop this season.
AZ held on as Zwolle pushed for a point, which seems them retain seventh place in the league, and Zwolle are right behind them in eighth.
AZ: Esteban, Johansson, Gouweleeuw, Viergever, Poulsen, Gudelj (Henriksen 76), Ortiz, Elm, Berghuis (Gudmundsson 73), Jóhannsson (Avdic 73), Beerens.
SUBS NOT USED: De Winter, Reijnen, Hoedt, Gorter.
GOALS: Beghuis 6, Gudelj 14.
ZWOLLE: Boer, Van Polen, Lachman (Broerse 46), Van der Werff, Van Hintum, Mokotjo (Klich 46), Drost, Saymak, Mahmudov (Hiwat 73), Benson, Karagounis.
SUBS NOT USED: Begois, Pereira, Gravenbeek, Nijland.
GOALS: Saymak 43.
BOOKINGS: Van Polen 33, Broerse 74.
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