AZ frustrated at home by stubborn Willem II

Published on 08 december 12, 00:00
ALKMAAR – On Saturday AZ failed to seize the moment in their tie against bottom club Willem II which ended goalless. AZ had chances aplenty but Gertjan Verbeek’s men could not get the ball into the back of the net but it wasn’t through the want of trying. It now means that AZ have failed to pick up three points in their last five successive home matches at the AFAS Stadium. 

Mattias Johansson and Giliano Wijnaldum were brought in as wing backs to replace the suspended Dirk Marcellis and the injured Donny Gorter. Willem II hadn’t won away in 35 matches so the home crowd were vying for a feast of AZ action but goals simply eluded Verbeek’s side.

AZ in control
Except for a Roy Beerens’ shot, AZ struggled to take an early lead although they were clearly bossing the game against their lowly opponents. AZ midfielder, Markus Henriksen, patrolled the centre of the park covering every blade of grass and looked to be pulling the strings for the home side. After 26 minutes, AZ’s first major opportunity came when Wijnaldum, who looked at ease on the left hand side, crossed for Jozy Altidore who was unable to capitalise. Soon after, Adam Maher fired just wide from close range and his speculative back heel effort in the six yard box was saved by Willem II goalkeeper David Meul.

On alert
As for the visitors, Aurélien Joachim’s headed attempt just before the break could have silenced the AZ crowd and Kees van Buuren’s effort wide ensured that his team were not just there to make up the numbers. Willem II certainly looked dangerous when they advanced down the flanks but AZ’s defence seemed to keep them at bay with Esteban having a fairly quiet evening in goal.

With the game heading towards a 0-0 stalemate, AZ searched impatiently for a winner but it wasn’t to be. Despite pressing forward in their droves and the rapid distribution of the ball to men in space, AZ lacked cutting edge up front. Altidore, who often looked a lonely figure in the Willem II half, came close when he got on the end of Maher’s bicycle kick but Meul saved what would have been a fantastic winner. With the game coming to a close, Verbeek introduced substitutes Steven Berghuis and Erik Falkenburg but unfortunately they were unable to make an immediate impact.

With the defeats against NEC, VVV-Venlo and Feyenoord and the draws against RKC Waalwijk and Willem II, AZ have failed to win at home at the fifth time of asking. AZ will know that they need to improve their home form if they are to climb the table and avoid a battle with the basement clubs at this stage of the season.

AZ - Willem II 0-0

Lineup AZ: Esteban; Mattias Johansson, Etiënne Reijnen (84. Erik Falkenburg), Nick Viergever, Giliano Wijnaldum; Adam Maher, Markus Henriksen, Viktor Elm; Roy Beerens, Jozy Altidore, Johann Berg Gudmundsson (67. Steven Berghuis).
Lineup Willem II: David Meul; Sofian Akouili, Philipp Haastrup, Jordens Peters (46. Kees van Buuren), Gaby Jallo; Niek Vossebelt, Hans Mulder, Danny Guijt; Virgil Misidjan (90+1. Marc Höcher), Aurélien Joachim, Jens Podevijn (55. Genaro Snijders).

Goals: -
Bookings: Johansson (AZ), Akouili, Podevijn (Willem II)
Sent-offs: -
Referee: Ed Janssen
Attendance: 16.072