AZ suffer narrow defeat against Werder Bremen

Published on 11 januari 12, 00:00
BELEK- AZ suffered a narrow 1-2 defeat against Werder Bremen in their first friendly in Turkey on Wednesday. Rasmus Elm opened the scoring for AZ from the penalty spot, but Mehmet Ekici and Sebastian Prödl scored a goal either side of the half-time break to give their team a 2-1 victory over AZ.

The match was scheduled to take place in Antalya, but heavy rain overnight had made the field unplayable. After the directors of football of both clubs, Earnest Stewart and Klaus Allofs, had met, it was decided to play the friendly match at AZ´s training facilities.

Conspicuous names
AZ coach Gertjan Verbeek made eleven changes at half-time. Jozy Altidore and Maarten Martens had been conspicuously included in the starting line-up. Altidore was ill at the start of the training camp, while Martens made his long awaited comeback after recovering from an ankle injury.

Verbeek had made some changes to AZ´s starting line-up for their first match in 2012.

Adam Maher filled in the void in midfield left by the departure of replaced Pontus Wernbloom and Martens played behind the strikers. Neither team created any meaningful chances in the closely contested early stages. Brett Holman, Roy Beerens and Martens had a few half chances, while at the other end Mehmet Ekici was denied by a fine save from AZ keeper Esteban.

Golden opportunity
AZ got a golden opportunity to open the scoring in the 40th minute. Altidore was fouled by Sokratis and the referee immediately pointed to the spot. Rasmus Elm calmly tucked away the penalty: 1-0. Werder Bremen, currently lying fifth in the Bundesliga, got back on level terms on the stroke of half-time.. Esteban saved a shot, but the ball fell to Ekici, who scored on the rebound: 1-1

Winning goal
AZ coach Gertjan Verbeek made eleven changes at half-time, including Dirk Marcellis and Ruud Boymans, who made their comebacks after a long spell on the sidelines. An unchanged Werder Bremen side took the lead three minutes into the second half. Defender Sebastian Prödl rose high to beat Erik Heijblok with a glancing header: 1-2.

Injury time
AZ had two fine chances to draw level, but Ruud Boymans sent a header straight at Sebastian Mielitz and the AZ striker also forced the keeper into a good save. Gertjan Verbeek´s team could not score an equaliser in the ten minutes of extra-time.

AZ - Werder Bremen 1-2 (1-1)

AZ line-up (first half): Esteban; Etiënne Reijnen, Niklas Moisander, Nick Viergever, Simon Poulsen; Adam Maher, Maarten Martens, Rasmus Elm; Roy Beerens, Jozy Altidore, Brett Holman
AZ line-up (second half): Erik Heijblok; Dirk Marcellis, Toine van Huizen, Erik Schouten, Ragnar Klavan; Erik Falkenburg, Ali Messaoud, Celso Ortiz; Kevin Luckassen, Ruud Boymans, Johann Berg Gudmundsson.
Werder Bremen line-up: Sebastian Mielitz; Clemens Fritz (63. Florian Hartherz), Sebastian Prödl (72. Mikael Silvestre), Sokratis, Lukas Schmitz (63. Sebastian Boenisch); Philipp Bargfrede (41. Felix Kroos), Aleksander Ignjoski, Tom Trybull, Mehmet Ekici; Marko Arnautovic (72. Lennart Thy) , Claudio Pizarro (72. Niclas Füllkrug)

Attendance: 200