Another valuable point gained away from home
ADO travelled to Alkmaar in confident mood after a run of results that have seen them consolidate their position in the league and dreams of reaching the European play-off spots: Add to this AZ’s recent form, which has been abysmal and they languish low in the league.
Danny Holla returned to the team which meant Charlton Vicento was back on the bench. The big news was that Gino Coutinho had injured his calf and was replaced by debutant keeper Martijn de Zwart.
On a rainy night and backed by a strong away following ADO had a fight on their hands. AZ’s American star Jozy Altidore had the first chance of the game but it was in the tenth minute that the deadlock was broken. ADO had already being trying to play the ball over the top for Mike van Duinen to chase down. Holla played a perfectly weighted long ball over the AZ defence and van Duinen clipped the ball over the advancing Esteban in the AZ goal, a neat finish, 0-1.
AZ then put ADO under sustained pressure, creating several good chances but unable to find the back of the net. They got the goal their play deserved in the twenty fifth minute. A great run down the right wing by Roy Beerens gave him space to put in a to the centre of the penalty area where the on rushing Victor Elm swept the ball home past the ADO keeper, 1-1.
The game ebbed and flowed, it was good to watch but chances were few and far between. In the thirty seventh minute Beugelsdijk managed to get the ball in the AZ area and tried to go around the keeper, as he did so he fell to the ground and the ADO fans and players shouted for a penalty. After consulting the linesman, referee Serdar Gozubuyuk gave Beugelsdijk a yellow card for diving.
The teams went in at half time on level terms, AZ probably feeling they had done enough to be in the lead. Sometimes you get the luck, others you don’t. When ADO got thumped at PSV a few weeks ago, they had luck on their side with the goals, everything went in. This time despite all their chances the ball wasn’t going into the back of the net for them ADO could have been out of it on another day.
The second half began with ADO pushing forward and within two minutes almost got the lead back. Mike van Duinen hit a low shot which Esteban didn’t collect properly, the ball squirmed away and just out of the reach of Meijers who was racing in to finish the move off.
AZ played the possession game and worked hard in midfield to find a gap in ADO’s well marshalled defence. The backline of ADO withstood all that was thrown at them and in the sixty seventh minute ADO again through van Duinen had a great chance. He was one on one with Esteban and the forward tried a cheeky chip over the keeper but the ball was not hit with enough force and it was easy for Esteban to paw the ball away for a corner.
Seventy one minutes played and ADO’s new keeper showed what he was capable of. The ball bounced in and around the ADO box before being cleared to the edge of the area. Steven Berghuis thundered a shot in on goal and de Zwart acrobatically turned it away, great football from both players.
In the last minute of injury time AZ almost took all three points. A ball was played through the defence of ADO and Berghuis was onto it in an instant; with only the keeper to beat he scuffed his shot which was then easily dealt with by Zwart, a case of so close but yet so far for the home side.
The final score of 1-1 was a bit unfortunate for the home side, but for ADO to gain another vital point in their chase for a play-of spot away from home was seen as a success. At the end of this weekend ADO are in seventh place. Maurice Steijn has got his team playing as a unit now and who knows what will come ADO’s way in the coming weeks.
ADO man of the match: Mike van Duinen; was everywhere on the pitch and battled throughout. He is going to be a real star and hopefully ADO can hang onto him.