After AZ’s 0-1 lead over West Ham United, visiting London tonight, hundreds of Alkmaar supporters had to leave the stands for safety reasons. “This is really sad,” says Klaas Middelbeek, one of the AZ fans who walked back to the hotel.
It seemed to be a happy and exuberant evening. The first game in the Conference League semi-finals. Especially for the AZ fans who went completely crazy after the 0-1 lead.
But then, shortly after the break, Klaas Middelbeek and the other AZ fans were told in London that they had to leave the business section in the stands as quickly as possible. Family members of AZ coach Pascal Jansen were also attacked at the London Stadium.
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“The stewards quickly took us away from the stands,” Klaas told NH . “We were also there in the middle of all West Ham United supporters. The fact that we were placed in that place by UEFA is inconceivable. After the cheers we got quite a few angry eyes. They were indeed not friendly.”
The stewards and people from AZ led Klaas and about three hundred others away from the box. The fans were given the option to watch the second half in the away section. “That takes a very long time. You have to sit for a long time after the game. Some have started doing that, we haven’t.”
“I am an AZ supporter in heart and soul, we do not deserve this”
Klaas talks about several dozen others, including friends and other acquaintances, with whom he visited the competition. They are now walking back to the hotel. “Bizarre that our safety cannot be guaranteed by UEFA”, Klaas continues. “AZ really can’t do anything about this, purely something from UEFA. Very disappointing! I’m an AZ supporter in heart and soul, we don’t deserve this.”
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It was Tijjani Reijnders who scored with AZ’s opening goal. But unfortunately that didn’t help. The match is now over. AZ lost to West Ham United. The Alkmaarders were entitled to more, but a penalty and another messy ball killed the team: (2-1).