The group stage of the Europa League has begun with a defeat for AZ Alkmaar, with the ten-man Dutch side downed 3-2 in Serbia by Partizan Belgrade.

az partiThe hosts raced into the lead after only eleven minutes when Abubakar Oumaru took advantage of chaos in the AZ defence to power a header past Sergio Rochet from a corner.

Partizan controlled the game, but on 34 minutes AZ drew level through Jop van der Linden, who netted from close range after a free kick from Thom Haye. However six minutes later Oumaru took advantage of a slip by Mattias Johansson to net his second of the game to put Partizan back in front.

Jeffrey Gouweleeuw nearly equalised again for AZ in the second half but his header was brilliantly kept out by Partizan’s keeper, and moments later the Alkmaar side were reduced to ten men when Guus Hupperts was shown his second yellow.

Andrija Zivkovic calmly put Partizan 3-1 up on 88 minutes, and although Markus Henriksen pulled one back for AZ in injury time there was to be no equaliser.

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