Jean-Paul De Jong’s first game in charge of Utrecht ended in a 1-1 draw at home to AZ Alkmaar.

De Jong was appointed as Utrecht head coach after Erik ten Hag left for Ajax during the winter break. His first tie in charge was a difficult home tie against high-flying AZ Alkmaar, who were looking to draw level with Ajax in second.

Utrecht had the first big chance of the game after eight minutes but Sander van de Streek missed the target after a good combination with Zakaria Labyad.

Willem Janssen headed a free-kick wide before the break for the hosts, while at the other end, Guus Til and Teun Koopmeiners went close for the visitors.

Ten minutes after the break, AZ took the lead through Jonas Svensson, who hammered a shot into the net from the edge of the box after Utrecht failed to clear a corner.

The home side went looking for an equaliser and eventually found it fifteen minutes before the end. Gyrano Kerk raced towards the AZ box and his cross was flicked by Labyad into the path of Dessers, who finished low past Marco Bizot.

Oussama Idrissi came off the bench to make his AZ debut but the attacker couldn’t help the visitors find a winner as both sides settled for a point.

Utrecht remain sixth while AZ are third and two points off Ajax.

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