AZ follows up European success with simple league victory over RKC
Watch the summary of AZ – RKC Waalwijk
AZ appears to have digested last Thursday’s European efforts just fine. The Alkmaarders, who qualified for the semifinals of the Conference League via penalty kicks at the expense of Anderlecht, easily beat RKC Waalwijk on Sunday night.
Coach Pascal Jansen’s men won 3-0 at home and the victory brought number three Ajax to within two points. In two weeks AZ will visit the outgoing national champion.
Pelle Clement offered Michiel Kramer the chance to open the scoring after only five minutes, but offside threw a spanner in the works. At the other end, Sven Mijnans converted a Yukinari Sugawara cross with his head, but this time he was able to celebrate: 1-0.
Meerdink in, Meerdink out
Joel Pereira, who replaced the injured Etienne Vaessen under the crossbar at RKC, reacted alertly to a chance by Jens Odgaard from close range and a slide by Myron van Brederode. A bigger setback than the lack of a second goal was the departure in the 20th minute of Odgaard, who left the field on a stretcher after a collision with Pereira.
A big loss for the home team, which was already without its top scorer Vangelis Pavlidis (12 goals) and the agile Jesper Karlsson in the attacking line.
Mexx Meerdink entered the lines as a substitute for Odgaard, but the 19-year-old talent, who hopes to play the Youth League final against Hajduk Split with his AZ peers in Geneva on Monday night (6 p.m.), was substituted at the break.
AZ prevailed in the first half, but got away well when a ball against Sam Beukema’s hand was not penalized with a penalty, while Mats Seuntjes failed to outwit Alkmaar goalkeeper Mathew Ryan shortly before halftime.
After half-time AZ quickly played their way to safe harbor. Meerdink’s substitute Djordje Mihailovic had to deal with Pereira, but Mayckel Lahdo left the Portuguese defenseless with a cannonball that hit the crossbar.
Mijnans still failed to make his second of the evening, but after poor defending by RKC, Van Brederode let in the 3-0 final score midway through the second game.
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