‘This is how he takes his penalties’
The Alkmaarders eliminated Anderlecht after penalty kicks, after a 2-0 final score. This erased the 2-0 defeat of a week earlier.
AZ had chances for more in regular playing time and also in the extension, but in the end goalkeeper Mathew Ryan and the still only 19-year-old Mexx Meerdink claimed the leading roles in the penalty series.
‘And then Mexx came’
“We had made a list of guys we thought could be among the first five takers. Riechedly (Bazoer, ed.) wanted to take the fifth and then Mexx came. He wanted that too,” Jansen said.
AZ coach Jansen: ‘Prefer to decide a little earlier in the future if you can’
Meerdink eventually became the fourth taker and his goal brought the decision, after two heroics by goalkeeper Ryan.
“On his Mexxs,” observed Jansen. “That’s generally how he takes his penalties. A very steady, clean kick where you really have to goaltend very well if you want to hit the ball.”
The substitute on the Alkmaar side also enjoyed his moment and AZ’s qualification for the semifinals. “We did it as a team. For me it was a fantastic moment. You dream about that,” said Meerdink, the son of former national team international Martijn Meerdink.
Meerdink on decisive penalty kick AZ: ‘Was completely focused’
“As a striker, you actually have to take a penalty kick like that,” he continued. “I was completely focused, grabbed the ball, bounced a few times and laid it out. And then I shot it in like I always do.”
Meerdink is not traveling to Switzerland at the moment, where a youthful AZ will face the Youth League semifinals at 1 p.m. on Friday. “No, I’m staying in Alkmaar because of Pavlidis’ injury, but if they make it to the final, I can play on Monday.”