Poor AZ does not get further than a draw against stronger Excelsior

A very mediocre AZ only managed to gain one point from the match with Excelsior. The Alkmaarders initially made very little of it on the artificial grass in Kralingen in Rotterdam, but in the last quarter of the match AZ still took the lead through a goal by substitute Mayckel Lahdo. In injury time the home team scored the deserved equalizer, 1-1.

Photo: Excelsior – AZ – PRO SHOTS / Kay Int Veen

For the first time in about fourteen months, Bruno Martins Indi started in the starting line-up at AZ. Furthermore, Jens Odgaard was preferred to Mayckel Lahdo in Pascal Jansen’s team. These changes did not ensure that AZ started strong. On the contrary, because Excelsior did much better and had a few nice chances before half time. For example, striker Troy Parrott was able to head in a cross, but this did not happen thanks to Alkmaar goalkeeper Mathew Ryan.

Only once was AZ dangerous for the break. A dangerous cross from Yukinari Sugawara was just a little too sharp for attackers Odgaard and Vangelis Pavlidis. The most threatening player in Kralingen was Lazaros Lamprou. The Alkmaar defense had its hands full with the quick technical right winger.

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AZ started the second half with the same eleven players. The second chance was not seized by this Alkmaar composition. That is why, after about twenty minutes, trainer Jansen brought in three new players: Alexandre Penetra, Tiago Dantas and Mayckel Lahdo.

This did produce the desired effect. AZ played with more energy and conviction and fifteen minutes before the end, the number two in the Eredivisie took the lead. There was initially some doubt as to whether Lahdo’s shot had gone over the line, but after the intervention of the VAR the goal was declared valid.

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Photo: Mayckel Lahdo in action for AZ – PRO SHOTS / Kay Int Veen

The last part of the match is not good, but very exciting. Especially when referee Laurens Gerrets decided to add eight minutes, partly due to a cup thrown on the field by a supporter and the match came to a standstill. Unfortunately, AZ did not hold out in that injury time. Cisse Sandra tapped in the equalizer from close range. Afterwards AZ tried again, but the right form was hard to find. Due to the draw, AZ remains second, but sees competitor Feyenoord coming very close.

AZ setup: Ryan; Sugawara, Bazoer, Martins Indi (Penetra/64), Moller Wolfe; Clasie, Mijnans, De Wit (Dantas/64); Odgaard (Lahdo/64, Sadiq/87), Pavlidis, Van Brederode (Van Bommel/87)

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