Utrecht steal victoryPublished on 05 december 12, 00:00
AZ started with a three-man defence with Thomas Lam in for the suspended Dirk Marcellis and Donny Gorter pushing forward into midfield. Viktor Elm returned to the starting line up after a foot injury.
Utrecht started the match the brighter of the two sides and came close to opening the scoring when Alexander Gerndt saw his effort helped onto the post by Esteban. In response, AZ orchestrated a couple of counter attacks which resulted in missed chances for Adam Maher who shot over and Johann Berg Gudmundsson whose effort was blocked. AZs best opportunities fell to Roy Beerens whose attempt was saved by Utrecht goalkeeper Robbin Ruiter and Gorter who fired his shot wide.
The home side took the lead early in the second half through Leon de Kogel after some clumsy defending from Gudmundsson. The Icelandic international was at fault when Mark van der Maarel dispossessed him and crossed for Utrecht substitute De Kogel who nodded the ball into the net giving his side a 1-0 lead.
AZ fight back
Within a minute, AZ equalised. Mahers corner kick forced a handling error from the Utrecht keeper and Etiënne Reijnen took advantage and pounced to slot the ball over the goal line making it 1-1. The equaliser seemed to give AZ some impetus with Beerens coming close after he struck the cross bar.
Utrecht then responded with Jacob Mulenga looking a particular threat in front of the AZ goal. He had a header that was miraculously saved by Esteban but his speculative volley from a Utrecht corner flew past the AZ keeper in spectacular fashion making it 2-1 . In extra time, Steven Berghuis could have made things all square but he was unable to finish in front of goal.
Gorter was stretchered off the pitch in the 76th minute suffering from suspected concussion after he collided with Esteban.
FC Utrecht AZ 2-1 (0-0)
Lineup FC Utrecht: Robbin Ruiter; Mark van der Maarel, Mike van der Hoorn, Jan Wuytens, Michael Zullo; Adam Sarota, Nana Asare, Anouar Kali, Tommy Oar; Alexander Gerndt (46. Leon de Kogel), Jacob Mulenga (90. Kai Heerings).
Lineup AZ: Esteban; Thomas Lam (84. Erik Falkenburg), Etiënne Reijnen, Nick Viergever; Adam Maher, Markus Henriksen, Viktor Elm, Donny Gorter (76. Giliano Wijnaldum); Roy Beerens, Jozy Altidore, Johann Berg Gudmundsson (68. Steven Berghuis).
Goals: 48. De Kogel 1-0, 50. Reijnen 1-1, 83. Mulenga 2-1.
Bookings: Henriksen, Elm, Viergever (AZ).
Referee: Pieter Vink