AZ Alkmaar have their Europa League fate in their own hands after they drew 1-1 with Napoli on Thursday.

AZ went into the game looking to match or better Real Sociedad’s result against HNK Rijeka to keep their hopes alive, despite an excellent campaign so far.

AZ started brightly and had chances but in the sixth minute, Dries Mertens fired Napoli ahead after some poor defending from the hosts.

Zakaria Aboukhlal came close to an equaliser before the break but his strike was saved by David Ospina. At the other end, Marco Bizot denied Mertens his second.

AZ started well in the second half, and after Calvin Stengs had went close, the home side equalised in the 53rd minute. Bruno Martins Indi netted from close ranger after a fierce strike from Teun Koopmeiners.

On the hour, AZ could have taken the lead when Aboukhlal was brought down in the box. However, Ospina tipped Koopmeiners penalty onto the post.

AZ still pushed for a winner but the game finished 1-1 which leaves Arne Slot’s side in a good position going into next week. If AZ defeats HNK Rijeka in Croatia they progress to the next round, regardless of the result in the other game. A draw would also be enough should Napoli defeat Real Sociedad.




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