Weak first half breaks AZ sour in outward quarterfinal at Anderlecht: 2-0
For AZ, the semifinals in the Conference League are still far away. Especially a weak first half killed the Alkmaarders in the outward game with Anderlecht: 2-0.
That the duel is not yet decided, AZ proved when it rallied in the second half. But a series of big chances was wasted on Pascal Jansen’s team. So the Alkmaarers will have to repair the damage in a week’s time at their own stadium if they want to claim a place in the last four.
Another opponent would emerge from the AA Gent-West Ham encounter, the first game of which ended in a draw (1-1).
But first Anderlecht, which has not been the Belgian superpower of old for years. Nevertheless, AZ was completely overwhelmed in the first quarter of the match in an atmospheric Astridpark. Michael Murillo headed in the opening goal on behalf of the home club. Although the way the visitors defended gave a lot to think about.
Anders Dreyer, active for sc Heerenveen for another blue Monday, was given all the time and space he needed to cross. And nobody seemed to have any eyes for the defender Murillo.
AZ created absolutely nothing before halftime. Illustrative was that Sven Mijnans and Myron van Brederode got in each other’s way during one of the sparse breakdowns.
A completely different AZ went passionately in pursuit of the equalizer after halftime, with Vangelis Pavlidis immediately putting Bart Verbruggen to work. Even though it turned out to be offside afterwards, the intentions were immediately clear.
At Anderlecht, almost no one doubts that the 20-year-old Verbruggen will be goalkeeper of Orange in the future, but he did not have to show his skills any further in this European friendly. Inserts by Pavlidis, Sam Beukema, Sven Mijnans and the too selfish Milos Kerkez were not between the posts.
Mijnans in particular, who had a free-shooting chance, should have done much more with the opportunities offered.
Verbruggen not seriously tested
To make matters worse for AZ, the first counter attack immediately meant 2-0 for Anderlecht. Completely free on the edge of the penalty area, Majeed Ashimeru was able to take on and strike, after which goalkeeper Mathew Ryan was once again left completely defenseless.
Verbruggen, who had not been beaten in five official matches, also kept his nets clean for the sixth time in a row. A shot by Tijjani Reijnders could not trouble him in the closing stages.