AZ is still waiting for its first competition victory in 2024 after a draw against Almere City

Once again AZ was unable to win in the Premier League in 2024. The away match against Almere City FC ended in a bloodless draw: 0-0. Maarten Martens’ team has now been waiting for a win for six matches. The Alkmaarders have also failed to score for three games in a row.

The midweek elimination in the KNVB Cup against Feyenoord allowed AZ to fully focus on the competition. The Alkmaarders have been eliminated in Europe before. In search of the first Premier League victory in 2024, Almere City seemed the perfect victim. The PhD candidate was the last club that the Alkmaarders won against in a competition (on December 9).

Trainer Maarten Martens changed his team in three places compared to the cup defeat. Kristijan Belic was forced to replace the suspended Dani de Wit (five yellow cards). Vangelis Pavlidis and Jayden Addai were also in the starting line-up. Yukinari Sugawara returned to right back, leaving Alexandre Penetra on the bench. AZ did not get further than a great chance for Ruben van Bommel before half time.

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Logically, AZ had to show more offensively in the second half. This was achieved almost immediately via Pavlidis. The Greek top scorer of the premier league escaped Almere’s defense and was able to score. However, he found goalkeeper Nordin Bakker on his way. Martens tried to force something offensively by replacing both wingers. That didn’t change the game.

The Belgian therefore chose to bring in disappointing Belic for Lequincio Zeefuik. The substitute did not get any further than a fall in the penalty area in the last fifteen minutes. In the final phase, Sven Mijnans shot well over the Almere goal and that was typical of the AZ game.

Twente is running late

Due to the disappointing result in Almere, FC Twente is in the battle for third place. The Tukkers won big when they visited Excelsior. They have nine points more than AZ. Fortuna Sittard will be the next opponent in Limburg in exactly a week. Kick-off is at 6:45 PM. Ajax can take over fourth place on Sunday with a victory over SC Heerenveen.

AZ setup: Ryan; Sugawara, Goes, Bazoer, Møller Wolfe; Clasie, Mijnans, Belic (Zeefuik/74); Addai (Poku/66), Pavlidis, Van Bommel (Van Brederode/66)