AZ Alkmaar are in a commanding position to reach the Europa league quarter finals after a 1-0 win over Anzhi at the AFAS Stadion.

  • By Michael Bell
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johannsson dIt was Anzhi who controlled the game from the kick off, and were unlucky not to take the lead early on when Aleksandr Bukharov saw his looping header just kept out on the line by AZ keeper Alvarado Esteban.

Bukharov missed another great chance for the visitors, and on 28 minutes they were made to rue the chances when AZ were awarded a penalty for a handball. Aron Johannsson scored the penalty to make it 1-0, but Anzhi goalkeeper Kerzhakov was unlucky not to stop the poor spot kick after getting a hand to the ball.

Before the break Anzhi once again came close to scoring with Oleksandr Aliyev hitting the crossbar with a 30 yard free kick.

The second half was much more of the same with Anzhi putting a lot of pressure on AZ, who seemed content with the 1-0 lead, but the Russian side were unable to find a way past an inspired Esteban.

AZ will now travel to Russia next week with a slender lead, but they will need to up their game if they are to secure their quarter final place. They will be without Jeffrey Gouweleeuw, who will be suspended, while both Steven Berghuis, and Simon Poulsen were forced off injured.

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