AZ Alkmaar have progressed to the knockout stages of the Europa League after a 2-2 draw against Partizan Belgrade, despite being reduced to ten men while 2-0 down.

AZ went into the clash knowing a draw was enough to seal their place in the next round, while a win would put them top of the group after Manchester United’s loss at Astana.

Arnie Slot’s side began the game brightly but after 16 minutes they fell behind completely against the run of play. Takuma Asano fired past Marco Bizot after being played in by Bibras Natcho.

Just before the half-hour mark, Partizan made it 2-0 when Seydouba Soumah capitalised on a poor pass from Bizot to Teun Koopmeiners.

Early in the second half, Partizan had chances to kill the game but Soumah hit the post, while Bizot denied Umar Sadiq. Pantelis Hatzidiakos was then forced off the pitch injured and was replaced by striker Ferdy Druijf.

AZ looked for a way back but Oussama Idrissi hit the post before the hosts were reduced to ten men. Myron Boadu had a quiet evening and he was sent off for a second yellow card.

Despite being down to ten men, AZ still pushed forward and with three minutes to go, Druijf pulled one back with a header. Idrissi then hit the post as AZ sensed a chance to equalise.

Seven minutes were added on at the end and in the fourth minute of it, Druijf scored again after a cross by Fredrik Midtso to seal an unlikely draw.

AZ are now assured of their spot in the next round and will face Manchester United in two weeks with the top of the group at stake.




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