AZ Alkmaar face an uphill battle to reach the semi finals of the Europa League after losing 1-0 to Benfica at the AFAS Stadion.

SALVIOThe home side made a determined start, creating a number of chances early on with Roy Beerens firing wide, before Aron Johannsson missed a glorious chance in front of goal. Steven Berghuis also forced Benfica keeper Artur into a diving save as Benfica struggled to get out their own half.

However the longer the first half went on Benfica started to take charge and they nearly took the lead just before the break, but Rodrigo could only volley over the bar.

Three minutes into the second half Benfica stunned the AFAS stadion, as Salvio fired into an empty net after Esteban had kept out Oscar Cordozo’s effort.

The goal seemed to deflate the home side, and Benfica continued to create chances to extend their lead, with Rodrigo coming close from distance, and substitute Lima seeing a header stopped by Esteban. AZ were unable to create any real chances to find an equaliser, and the away side comfortably held out for the win.

AZ now travel to Portugal next week knowing they have to do something that no other side has done all season and win at the Estadio da Luz.

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