AZ Alkmaar are through to the last 16 of the Europa League after a 1-1 draw with Slovan Liberec gave them a 2-1 aggregate win.

  • By Michael Bell
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az nicsDick Advocaat’s side put themselves in a commanding position after they claimed a late 1-0 win in the Czech Republic last week, and they started the game at the AFAS Stadion confident of progressing.

After 20 minutes AZ opened the scoring, when the hero from last week Nick Viergever was given too much space to head a corner into the bottom corner.

Minutes later AZ keeper Esteban had to make a good stop to deny Slovan defender Jan Rajnoch’s low effort, as the away side pushed for a way back into the tie.

In the second half Esteban was called into action again as he had to tip Serhiy Rybalka’s long range effort over the bar.

With 18 minutes to go Slovan Liberec equalised when Yevhen Budnick fired in at the back post after a corner was flicked into his path. The goal set up a nervy final 10 minutes for the home side as Esteban was called into action a number of times to seal AZ’s path into the last 16.

AZ will now face Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala in the last 16, and are now the last Dutch side standing in the competition.

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