AZ Alkmaar failed to start the season with a victory after a late Stijn Schaars free kick earned 10-man Heerenveen a 2-2 draw.

schaars heeA game that traditionally sees a lot of goals got off to a slow start, but on the half hour mark AZ Alkmaar took the lead through Markus Henriksen who finished well after good work by winger Alireza Jahanbakhsh. AZ’s lead lasted only seven minutes as Arber Zeneli equalised for Heerenveen with a lovely strike into the bottom corner.

AZ should have regained the lead before the break after an error from Erwin Mulder presented Wout Weghorst with the opportunity to head into the net, but the striker’s effort deflected in off his own arm meaning the goal was chalked off.

Seven minutes into the second half, AZ were awarded a penalty after a foul by Pelle van Amersfoort on Rens van Eijden and Weghost slammed the spot kick past Mulder for his first goal of the season for his new club.

Heerenveen substitute William Huizing was shown two quick yellow cards to leave the visitors with ten men and it seemed an AZ win would then be a formality. However, AZ failed to make their advantage count and eight minutes from the end Stijn Schaars levelled with an excellent free kick. Derrick Luckassen thought he had won it late on but his goal was ruled out for offside and Heerenveen held on for an impressive point.

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