AZ had started in a different line-up, partly due to the mediocre results of the last few weeks. In the back, Yukinari Sugawara was replaced by Norwegian Aslak Witry after a poor inning against NEC. His compatriot Hakon Evjen replaced the constantly ailing Albert Gudmundsson in the front. At AZ they have been waiting for almost two years for the breakthrough of the talent who was named the best player in the Norwegian league. It didn’t happen yet, although he made the welcome equalizer tonight just before half-time at the difficult playing AZ that initially could never really make it difficult for the number thirteen in the Czech competition. Evjen had to deal with an attack on his ankle, which was only punished with yellow, in the second half, after which he had to be replaced.
Besides the mediocre form of the Alkmaarders, AZ’s difficult game was probably also due to the lack of tension around the game. The team of trainer Pascal Jansen already knew in advance that a draw was enough for a first place in the poor quality group in the Conference League, which also includes Romanian Cluj Randers from Denmark. The decor in Jablonec, about an hour and a half from the capital Prague, was also uninspiring. AZ imagined itself on a glorified amateur site. It finally managed to get the coveted ticket.
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