AZ Alkmaar’s chances of reaching the Europa League group stages are still alive after a 1-1 draw against Royal Antwerp in Enschede.

The tie was played at FC Twente’s Grolshe Veste Stadion because of AZ’s stadium still being out of use. With only a few thousand fans travelling to the game, the atmosphere was almost non-existent during the game.

The game was 50-50 from the start with Marco Bizot having to deny Aurélio Buta, while at the other end, Myron Boadu couldn’t finish past Sinan Bolat.

Bizot was the busier goalkeeper in the opening stages but then AZ started to take control and got chances through Calvin Stengs and Boadu. Just as AZ were coming close to the opener, the goal came at the other end. A corner kick landed at the feet of Dylan Batubinsika, who fired Antwerp ahead. It was the first goal that AZ had conceded this season.

Early in the second half, Lior Refaelov hit the post as Antwerp threatened a second but it was AZ who controlled the game. However, Bolat kept out efforts from Stengs and Oussama Idrissi.

In the 73rd minute, Antwerp were reduced to ten men when Aurelio Buta saw his second yellow card. Playing against ten men, AZ went looking for the equaliser which came in the 82nd minute when Idrissi crossed for Boadu to net.

AZ poured forward looking for a winner but it never came and Antwerp head back to Belgium for the second leg with a draw and an away goal.

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