AZ Alkmaar needed extra-time to defeat 9-man Royal Antwerp 4-1 to seal their place in the Europa League group stages. AZ progress 5-2 on aggregate.

After the 1-1 draw in Enschede, AZ headed to Belgium knowing they had to score at least once to progress.

Arnie Slot’s side were second best from the start, though, and Marco Bizot had to make an excellent save to deny Ivo Rodrigues. Lior Refaelov also missed a great chance for the hosts.

In the 35th minute the game turned in AZ’s favour when Antwerp striker Dieumerci Mbokani saw red for his second yellow card in the space of a few minutes for a poor challenge on Ron Vlaar.

Antwerp, who had the away goal, did not need to score and they frustrated AZ with ten men. Only after an hour did AZ get a big chance but Myron Boadu’s header went wide.

As the second half wore on, AZ started to take control and Calvin Stengs was unlucky to see a strike cannon back off the bar. Just as AZ were looking likely to open the scoring, Antwerp broke swiftly in the 73rd minute and Lamkel Zé headed the hosts in front.

However, the Antwerp stars celebrations were too much for the referee, who showed Ze his second yellow card and the home side were down to nine-men.

AZ poured forward looking for the equaliser, but Boadu missed two great chances. Eventually, in the 90th minute, Stengs forced extra-time with a low strike into the bottom corner.

In extra-time, AZ’s 2-man advantage proved far too much for Antwerp. Ferdy Druijf diverted a Fredrik Midtsjø effort into the net to make it 2-1 before Boadu was brought down in on goal and Teun Koopmeiners made it 3-1 from the penalty spot.

In the 113th minute, Albert Gudmundsson made it 4-1 which angered the home fans and the game was halted for five minutes.

When the game got back underway, AZ eased to the end to seal their place in the Europa League group stage draw which takes place on Friday.




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