Alkmaar in the driving seat

AZ Alkmaar put themselves in the driving seat in their Europa League last-16 tie against Anzhi Makhachkala, nicking a 1-0 lead in the opening leg in Holland.

Last Updated: 13/03/14 at 22:25 Post Comment

Simon Poulsen (R): Fights for the ball with Aleksandr Bukharov

Simon Poulsen (R): Fights for the ball with Aleksandr Bukharov

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

A first-half penalty from Aron Johansson settled the contest in AZ's favour and helped them erase memories of a 5-0 thrashing by the Russians when the two sides met in Alkmaar in last season's Europa League play-offs.

A cagey opening at the AFAS Stadion was not made any easier for Dick Advocaat's hosts by an injury to Steven Berghuis, who had to be replaced in midfield by Johann Berg Gudmundsson after 23 minutes.

And Anzhi immediately tried to exploit the situation, with Andrei Yeschenko's low cross into the area poked just wide of the target by Alexander Bukharov.

However, the Russians then gave away a penalty on the half hour when an inswinging corner from Gudmundsson struck the hand of Ali Gadzhibekov.

Johansson took the spot-kick and planted the ball low into the centre of the net, despite the best efforts of Mihail Kerzhakov to save it.

It was the goal the game so badly needed and Anzhi responded with a header from Bukharov, which fell past the left post, before a free-kick from Oleksandr Aliyev six minutes before the interval rebounded off the crossbar.

Bukharov threatened again moments later, forcing AZ goalkeeper Esteban Alvarado to block his 12-yard strike.

Kerzhakov then came to the rescue at the other end, palming away a drive from distance from Nemanja Gudelj which was on course for the top right corner.

Anzhi cranked up the pressure at the start of the second half and Esteban had to be alert to keep out a close-range header from Nikita Burmistrov.

Further chances came and went for Bukharov and Aliyev, while Celso Ortiz failed to inspire AZ with an under-hit effort after 69 minutes which trickled past the left post.

Johansson also had the opportunity to add to his tally nine minutes later but fired a shot straight into the hands of Kerzhakov from the edge of the area.

Roy Beerens soon followed up with a strike from distance for the Dutch hosts which cleared the bar, but the final minutes failed to produce any fireworks, leaving AZ with the narrowest of leads to defend in Russia next week.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

More Match Results

Wednesday, 27 May 2015
19:45
Dnipro 2-3 Sevilla Report
Thursday, 14 May 2015
20:05
Dnipro 1-0 Napoli  
Fiorentina 0-2 Sevilla  
Thursday, 07 May 2015
Napoli 1-1 Dnipro Report
Sevilla 3-0 Fiorentina Report
Thursday, 23 April 2015
Dnipro 1-0 Club Brugge  
Fiorentina 2-0 Dynamo Kiev  
Napoli 2-2 Wolfsburg  
Zenit 2-2 Sevilla  
Thursday, 16 April 2015
Club Brugge 0-0 Dnipro  

Footer 365

Sepp Blatter: Tiny minority to blame for FIFA crisis

Sepp Blatter has told FIFA's annual congress he had no way of monitoring "a tiny minority" of officials accused of corruption.

Sepp Blatter lies low as David Cameron joins opposition to FIFA president's re-election

Sepp Blatter held an emergency meeting in Zurich on Thursday morning as David Cameron joined those calling for his head.

CONCACAF have 'provisionally dismissed' president Jeffrey Webb

CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb has been 'provisionally dismissed' by the governing body for football in North and Central America.

Mail Box

What Is It That FIFA Actually Do?

That's the question raised timidly by someone sat at the back of the room, whilst others remind that UEFA aren't perfect either. Plus a few more gone on to better XIs...

Time To Step Up, Mr Platini...

UEFA should step up and extend the Euros to replace FIFA's tarnished World Cup, say a couple of mailboxers. Also: all hail Carlo, King of the Kop, and plenty more Budget XIs...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company