AZ fail to take second place from Ajax
AZ failed with their chance to take over second place in the Eredivisie from Ajax. Pascal Jansen's side lost 2-1 to FC Twente and, therefore, could not profit from the loss by Ajax against Feyenoord (2-3). Feyenoord ends the 26th round of fixtures as the weekend's big winners.
The Rotterdammers now have a six-point lead at the top over Ajax. AZ and PSV, who didn't do better than a 1-1 against Vitesse, are eight points behind Feyenoord. With eight fixtures left, Arne Slot's side seems to be headed towards a sixteenth league title. Feyenoord's last league title was in 2017.
AZ reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Conference League on Thursday by beating Lazio at home. AZ did not show these levels three days later in Enschede. The Alkmaarders were 2-0 down after just 11 minutes due to two accurate headers by Manfred Ugalde. The 1.73 meters-tall striker from Costa Rica was unmarked to head home from right-back Joshua Brenet's cross. A short while later, he scored another with an assist from Vaclav Cerny. Ugalde also scored twice last week against Fortuna Sittard (0-3).
FC Twente overran AZ in the opening stages, and it took a lot of effort from Jansen's side to recover from the early goals. After half an hour, Ugalde missed a big chance to get his hat trick.
Jansen subbed young defender Wouter Goes off for Sam Beukema at halftime, but Twente kept creating chances. Goalkeeper Mathew Ryan kept AZ alive, saving shots from Anass Salah-Eddine and Ricky van Wolfswinkel. The excitement came back into the match after 66 minutes when Jesper Karlsson got a goal back, created by a terrific pass from Jordy Clasie. Substitute Mexx Meerdink, who was making his Eredivisie debut, was given an enormous opportunity to tie the game in the closing stages. However, the young striker hit his shot into defender Julio Pleguezuelo who was lying on the floor.
Reporting by ANP