Ten-man AZ earn win over Heracles Almelo

Published on 03 maart 12, 00:00
ALKMAAR- AZ moved to the top of the Eredivisie with a comfortable 3-1 win over Heracles Almelo at the AFAS Stadion on Saturday night, thanks to goals from Simon Poulsen, Jozy Altidore and Adam Maher. Nick Viergever and coach Gertjan Verbeek were sent off after the break.

Five days ahead of the Europa League round of 32 first leg at home to Udinese, AZ played host to Heracles Almelo. The visitors, with technically gifted midfielders like Lerin Duarte, Willie Overtoom and Samuel Armenteros, were equal to the home side in the opening exchanges.

Esteban pulled off saves to deny Thomas Bruns and Darl Douglas, while Armenteros hit the post. Yet AZ took the lead after thirty minutes when Poulsen tapped home Maarten Martens´ corner at the far post: 1-0. On the stroke of half-time, AZ doubled their lead. Holman delivered the cross from the left and Altidore scored on the turn, taking his tally for the league season to ten goals.

The contest was virtually over as a contest when Maher scored a third goal for AZ seven minutes into the second half. He superbly controlled Viergever´s long ball and cleverly chipped keeper Remko Pasveer to make it 3-0.

Two sent off
AZ were reduced to ten men after Viergever had handled on the line. Willie Overtoom struck the resulting penalty into the top corner: 3-1. Verbeek was sent to the stands after he became involved in an argument with the fourth official. Heracles failed to make their numerical advantage count and hardly threatened Estefan’s goal. At the other end, Rasmus Elm and substitute Johann Berg Gudmundsson came close to scoring a fourth goal as AZ comfortably held on to claim the win.

Following their 3-1 win, AZ moved back to the top of the Eredivisie table, as leaders PSV suffered a severe 2-6 defeat at home to FC Twente. AZ will be next in action on Thursday when they welcome Udinese at the AFAS Stadion in the Europa League round of 16, with a 21.05 kick-off.

“It was an equally contested match for the first thirty minutes and both teams had chances”, said Verbeek at the post-match conference. “Then we started to put pressure on their defence and went into half-time with a two-goal lead. When we were down to ten men, Heracles never threatened. My team put in a mature performance to bag all three points.”

When asked to comment on being sent off himself, Verbeek replied: “I just showed some emotion and the fourth official reacted. He didn’t tell the truth, though. Whatever the punishment, I will appeal.”

AZ starting line-up: Esteban; Dirk Marcellis, Niklas Moisander, Nick Viergever, Simon Poulsen; Adam Maher, Rasmus Elm, Maarten Martens; Roy Beerens (44. Johann Berg Gudmundsson), Jozy Altidore (78. Ruud Boymans), Brett Holman (57. Ragnar Klavan).
Heracles Almelo starting line-up: Remko Pasveer; Mike te Wierik, Ben Rienstra, Antoine van der Linden, Mark Looms (78. Ninos Gouriye); Thomas Bruns, Willie Overtoom, Lerin Duarte; Darl Douglas (86. Daryl van Mieghem), Samuel Armenteros, Everton.

Goals: 31. Poulsen 1-0, 43. Altidore 2-0, 52. Maher 3-0, 56. Overtoom (penalty) 3-1.
Booked: Te Wierik (Heracles Almelo).
Sent off: 55th minute: Viergever (AZ), 64th minute: Verbeek (AZ).
Referee: Ruud Bossen.
Attendance: 16, 078

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