AZ Alkmaar were given a big scare by Viktoria Plzen on Wednesday but they progressed to the Champions League third qualifying round after a 3-1 win in extra-time.

Arne Slot was able to select Calvin Stengs in his starting eleven despite the winger not playing a single minute during pre-season due to injury. Ron Vlaar was also able to start.

AZ’s form in pre-season had been poor and they looked rusty once again during the first-half which saw them create very little against their Czech opponents.

A minute into the second half, AZ went close but Dani de Wit’s effort was tipped over the bar by goalkeeper Ales Hruska. Stengs then saw a shot blocked, while Myron Boadu rightly had a goal disallowed for offside.

After the hour, Stengs was replaced by Albert Gudmundsson, while Vlaar also went off. In the 78th minute, Viktoria Plzen hit AZ with a sucker-punch as David Limbersky fired in the opening goal.

Ferdy Druijf was then brought into the game by Slot and in the last seconds of injury time, the forward was fouled by Hruska to earn AZ a last ditch penalty. Teun Koopmeiners confidently netted from the spot to make it 1-1 and take the game to extra-time.

Eight minutes into extra-time, Gudmundsson fired AZ ahead with a calm finish through on goal. AZ then defended deeply and got away with what looked like a penalty when the ball hit Druijf on the arm.

AZ survived and with two minutes left, Gudmundsson made it 3-1 to confirm their place in the third qualifying round.

The draw is made on Monday with AZ either facing Benfica, Dynamo Kiev or AA Gent. The victory means that should AZ lose in the 3rd qualifying round then they drop into the Europa League group stages.




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