AZ knocked out by Heracles

Published on 22 maart 12, 00:00
ALKMAAR- AZ failed to progress to the KNVB Beker final after they were beaten 2-4 by Heracles Almelo after extra-time in the semi-finals at the AFAS Stadion on Thursday. They will now turn their attention to the remaining Eredivisie matches and the quarter-final ties of the Europa League.

AZ could have been a goal down in the very first minute, when keeper Esteban pulled off a brilliant save to deny Everton. Ten minutes later, the deadlock was broken by Everton who headed home Willie Overtoom´s cross from the left: 0-1.

AZ were not impressed and, passing the ball comfortably around at a high tempo, they struck twice in quick succession. Twenty minutes were on the clock when Adam Maher turned in Simon Poulsen´s cross at the near post and barely two minutes later Johann Berg Gudmundsson was clinical in his finishing, finding the back of the net with a well-placed shot.

The Eredivisie leaders, coached by Martin Haar who replaced the suspended Gertjan Verbeek, got a number of chances in the second half to put the result beyond doubt but lacked sharpness in front of goal. Gudmundsson hit the post and Brett Holman fired well wide of the goal. Heracles´ hopes of reaching the Cup final for the first time in their history were boosted when Kwame Quansah headed home from a corner after 67 minutes: 2-2.

Dominating midfield, Heracles missed their chances to win the tie in official time, so the match went into extra time. Charlison Benschop was unlucky with his effort hitting the inside of the post and keeper Dennis Telgenkamp dived to full length to turn Erik Falkenburg´s shot round the post. Heracles coach Peter Bosz brought on Thomas Bruns and Ninos Gouriye and the substitutions paid off. Bruns was played clean through and beat Esteban with a low shot in the 109th minute and Gouriye scored in the last minute of extra time to send Heracles into the final.

AZ assistant coach Haar was left ruing several missed chances. “We had chances to make it 3-1, 4-1 or 5-1, but we couldn’t find a winner”, he said at the post-match conference. “Congratulations to Heracles for reaching the KNVB Beker final.”

KNVB Beker semi-final

AZ line-up: Esteban; Dirk Marcellis, Niklas Moisander, Nick Viergever, Simon Poulsen; Adam Maher, Rasmus Elm (80. Ragnar Klavan), Maarten Martens; Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Jozy Altidore, Brett Holman (89. Erik Falkenburg).
Heracles Almelo line-up: Dennis Telgenkamp; Tim Breukers, Ben Rienstra, Antoine van der Linden, Mark Looms; Kwame Quansah, Willie Overtoom (81. Marko Vejinovic), Lerin Duarte; Darl Douglas (90+2. Ninos Gouriye), Samuel Armenteros (106. Thomas Bruns), Everton.

Goals:7. Everton 0-1, 21. Maher 1-1, 22. Gudmundsson 2-1, 67. Quansah 2-2, 109. Bruns 2-3, 119. Gouriye 2-4.

Booked: Klavan (AZ), Armenteros, Telgenkamp (Heracles Almelo).

Referee: Richard Liesveld.

Attendance: 10.669