AZ suffers injury again in battle for spot two, this time against Heerenveen
Watch the summary of AZ – sc Heerenveen
As boldly as AZ seemed to get involved in the title race, the Alkmaarders are in danger of squandering their dream season in just a few games. Against sc Heerenveen they lost by points for the second league game in a row (1-1).
Ajax and PSV now appear to be the main contenders for second place and the Champions League qualification ticket, both, incidentally, well behind leaders Feyenoord.
AZ is still third though, with one more game played. And that mainly thanks to the youthful contribution by the Alkmaarers. Because in the end it was a Mexx Meerdink effort that after interference from VAR appeared to have just crossed the line after all and meant the equalizer.
Van Hooijdonk with the early 0-1
For a long time it did not look like AZ could repair the early deficit. After an action by the Osame Sahraoui, Sydney van Hooijdonk had slipped the 0-1 in, childishly easy to escape the attention of his direct keeper Sam Beukema.
The super powers had momentarily faded from the Alkmaar game anyway. The unstoppable Jesper Karlsson was suddenly a perfectly normal person again when he failed to take advantage even of a penalty awarded to him as a gift – goalkeeper Xavier Mous’ foul on Sven Mijnans was completely unnecessary, in a harmless spot.
Mous repaired his mistake, saving with help from the crossbar. And that was not the first time he kept the Frisians on their feet, as he also kept Vangelis Pavlidis off the equalizer twice – after twice clever work by Jens Odgaard.
It was one of those days when things did not work out for AZ, with a header against the post by Beukema on the stroke of half-time as well. But on the other side, the defender then did keep Van Hooijdonk from his second with a crucial save on the line.
Coach Pascal Jansen couldn’t stand it any longer and bravely changed his entire forward line. The established names Odgaard, Pavlidis and Karlsson had to go to the side, after which the youth was allowed to show.
Mayckel Lahdo pounced on Mous after a good move, but in the rebound it was Meerdink who equalized through Mous. It took a while before he could celebrate his first major league goal, because at first it was not observed that the ball had crossed the line.
One blemish on the afternoon was that the game had to be briefly interrupted because of Frisian fireworks on the pitch, even though Heerenveen remains on course for the European playoffs.