Lois Openda scored late on to give Vitesse Arnhem a 2-1 win over AZ Alkmaar in the first leg of their European playoff final.

Both sides began energetically and after 22 minutes, Thomas Buitink fired Vitesse in front with a wonderful volley from Openda’s cross.

AZ lost Fredrik Midtsjö to injury and before the break they hit the woodwork twice, firstly through Vangelis Pavlidis and then Jesper Karlsson.

At the hour mark, it was 1-1 with Jordy Clasie’s shot changing direction before flying past Jeroen Houwen.

AZ failed to build on the equaliser and it was Vitesse who will take a slender lead into Sunday’s second leg after Openda netted from the edge of the box in the 86th minute.

AZ will now need to turn the tie around on Sunday or there will be no European football at the AFAS Stadion next season.

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