AZ to Youth League final via penalty kicks, first Dutch club ever to do so

AZ to Youth League final via penalty kicks, first Dutch club ever to do so
Celebration at the AZ talents after Ro-Zalengo Daal’s 2-1 goal

NOS Soccer

AZ’s talents have made history with a final place in the Youth League. Never before has a Dutch club reached the final match of the tournament, which in terms of format and status can best be described as a kind of Champions League for youth teams.

In Geneva, the semi-final (2-2) was settled after penalty shootouts (4-3) against Sporting Portugal, which had earlier beaten Ajax.

With Goes as captain, AZ soon faced an early deficit through a high-level effort by Diogo Cabral, who pulled inside and banged in a fine goal.

But not for nothing did AZ also previously manage to win against the likes of Eintracht Frankfurt, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. Ernest Poku tucked in the equalizer and Ro-Zangelo Daal turned the game on its head by curling in via the inside of the post.

The AZ team, with Wouter Goes flown in at top right

After halftime, things got a little messier and things got a little tougher inside the lines. Had VAR been present, the penalty (and the 2-2) caused by Jayden Addai might have been overturned. But then that same video referee could have sent Addai off moments later after a rock-hard tackle.

Sporting seemed to slowly draw the game to itself, but in the closing stages AZ was suddenly dangerous again with shots from distance through Lewis Schouten (free kick) and Fedde de Jong.

In the penalty series, goalkeeper Rome-Jayden Owusu-Oduro became AZ’s hero by taking two penalties.

Striker Meerdink, who remains with the first selection for the premier league game with RKC Waalwijk (Sunday) due to an injury to Vangelis Pavlidis, will be available for the final against the winner of the duel between Hajduk Split and AC Milan.

Finn Stam received a direct red a few seconds before the end of regular playing time and will not be there on Monday.

The program in the Youth League

Kayleigh Williams