AZ held to a goalless draw by NAC Breda

Published on 19 maart 12, 00:00
ALKMAAR- AZ were held to a goalless draw at home to NAC Breda on Sunday afternoon. The home side failed to convert their dominance into goals in the first half, but keeper Esteban made a string of fine second-half saves to salvage a point for AZ.

Three days after a physical game against Udine, AZ, with Etiënne Reijnen for the suspended Niklas Moisander, faced NAC. The visitors from Breda put in bright display, playing with a compact defence.

Ten Rouwelaar
After Kees Luijckx had wasted a great chance to open the scoring against his former club, AZ showed attacking intentions and Rasmus Elm and Brett Holman forced keeper Jelle ten Rouwelaar into fine saves with vicious long-range shots.

NAC´s shot stopper pulled off a good save on the half hour mark to deny Dirk Marcellis. On the stroke of half-time, Ten Rouwelaar was again called into action, when he palmed Erik Falkenburg´s header at the far post away for a corner.

After the break, NAC Breda won most of the balls and created the better chances. Santi Kolk had four opportunities to break the deadlock. He was thwarted three times by Esteban, who was outstanding, and once wildly fired over the bar from close range

Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Maarten Martens and Charlison Benschop came on as substitute to bolster the attack, as AZ went in search of a late winning goal in the closing stages. Adam Maher sent an effort wide and Gudmundsson shot straight at Ten Rouwelaar as NAC held on for a 0-0 draw. AZ failed to score a goal at the AFAS Stadion for the first time since their 0-4 defeat against PSV on 12 February 2011.

AZ stay top of the table, although they dropped two points following the 0-0 draw, but saw their lead over Ajax reduced to one point. AZ will be next in action on Thursday when they play host to Heracles Almelo in the KNVB Beker semi final.

Verbeek: ‘It was just not good enough’
“We responded well to Thursday’s physically demanding game against Udinese”, said Verbeek at the post-match conference. “We tried to play attacking football for the full 90 minutes, but our performance was just not good enough to beat bogey team NAC Breda. The game could have gone either way, as NAC also got chances.”

MATCH CHARACTERISTICS:
AZ – NAC Breda 0-0

AZ line-up: Esteban; Dirk Marcellis, Etiënne Reijnen, Nick Viergever, Simon Poulsen; Adam Maher, Rasmus Elm, Erik Falkenburg (68. Maarten Martens); Roy Beerens, Jozy Altidore (76. Charlison Benschop), Brett Holman (64. Johann Berg Gudmundsson).
NAC Breda line-up:  Jelle ten Rouwelaar; Milano Koenders, Eric Botteghin, Kees Luijckx, Youssef El Akchaoui; Jordy Buijs, Tim Gilissen, Roly Bonevacia; Anthony Lurling, Santi Kolk, Nourdin Boukhari (86. Alex Schalk).


Goals: -
Booked: Reijnen (AZ), Bonevacia, Gilissen (NAC Breda)
Sent off: -
Referee: Jan Wegereef
Attendance: 16.268

Photos: Ed van de Pol / www.edvandepol.nl