Ten-man AZ salvage a draw at Vitesse

Published on 01 april 12, 00:00
ARNHEM- AZ battled out a 2-2 draw against Vitesse in Arnhem on Sunday afternoon. Gertjan Verbeek´s team went down to ten men in the 63rd minute when Brett Holman was sent off for second bookable offence. Jozy Altidore and Simon Poulsen scored a goal for AZ in each half.

Vitesse instantly put pressure on AZ and pushed them back, knowing that their opponents had won only one league game out of six, three days after a European match. Yet the home side failed to create any meaningful chances. At the other end, Poulsen had a good chance but skewed his shot wide.

AZ attempted to cut open Vitesse´s backline by playing a quick passing game. The hosts tried their luck with long balls, with the physically strong Wilfried Bony as target man at the front.

Altidore: 0-1
Altidore put AZ ahead in the 32nd minute. Poulsen delivered a cross from the left and the American headed home from close range: 0-1.

AZ´s lead was short-lived though as Guram Kashia gifted Vitesse the equaliser only five minutes later. Vitesse´s centre back beat Niklas Moisander in the air, heading the ball into the back of the net over the advancing Esteban.

Vitesse took the lead two minutes after the restart. Marco van Ginkel evaded his marker and saw his glancing header fly past Esteban, who stretched full length, and nestle into the corner of the net: 2-1. AZ responded well. Twelve minutes later, Poulsen´s shot luckily took a slight deflection to beat Velthuizen: 2-2.

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<st1:State w:st="on">AZ</st1:State></st1:place> not only seemed to face Vitesse on Sunday, they also were left to bemoan some refereeing decisions. Referee Danny Makkelie tried to keep control of the game brandishing yellow cards, but his decision to issue a second yellow card to Brett Holman was certainly controversial.

AZ were reduced to ten men and battled hard for almost thirty minutes to salvage a point. Verbeek, who handed the Swede Mattias Johansson his debut, changed the game plan as ten-man AZ held out for a 2-2 draw. Alexander Büttner´s free-kick drew a great save from Esteban, while Velthuizen made two crucial stops to deny Rasmus Elm and substitute Charlison Benschop.

Second place

AZ dropped to second place after their 2-2 draw in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 /><st1:place w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">Arnhem</st1:City></st1:place>. They will return to league action on Wednesday, April 11, when they play host to FC Twente in a big game. Holman misses the game through suspension, while FC Twente players Wout Brama and Willem Janssen will also watch the game from the stand, as they serve a one-match ban, too.

“We did not put in a particularly fine first-half display but yet we were well-organised defensively and created a few chances”, said Verbeek at the post-match conference. “We deservedly took the lead, but conceded a sloppy equaliser through indecisive defending. We had a poor start to the second half, but showed resilience. The referee should never have shown Holman that second yellow card. When we were reduced to ten men, we defended well and even had chances to snatch a late win. But all in all, I should be satisfied with the 2-2 draw”, concluded Verbeek.

Vitesse – AZ 2-2 (1-1)

Vitesse line-up: Piet Velthuizen; Frank van der Struijk, Tomás Kalas, Guram Kashia, Alexander Büttner; Marco van Ginkel, Anthony Annan, Jan-Arie van der Heijden; Renato Ibarra, Wilfried Bony, Giorgi Chanturia.
AZ line-up: Esteban; Dirk Marcellis, Niklas Moisander, Nick Viergever, Simon Poulsen; Adam Maher, Rasmus Elm, Maarten Martens (76. Mattias Johansson); Johann Berg Gudmundsson (69. Erik Falkenburg), Jozy Altidore (69. Charlison Benschop), Brett Holman.

Goals: 32. Altidore 0-1, 36. Kashia 1-1, 47. Van Ginkel 2-1, 59. Poulsen 2-2.
Booked: Bony (Vitesse), Martens, Moisander, Maher (AZ).
Sent off: Holman (63rd minute, for a second yellow card)
Referee: Danny Makkelie
Attendance: 22.164