AZ Alkmaar were left to rue a missed opportunity in Romania as they let a 2-0 lead slip against Astra before going down 3-2 in the first leg of their Europa League tie.

az astraAZ boss John van den Brom was worried going into the match that his defence would be too fragile after being disappointed by what he saw in the 2-2 draw with Excelsior at the weekend. Derrick Luckassen was added to the defence going into the match, but any concerns seemed to be pre-mature as AZ raced into a two goal lead.

After 11 minutes Guus Hupperts raced up the right wing before setting up Markus Henriksen to fire AZ ahead, and two minutes later Vincent Janssen fired in from close range after Jop van der Linden’s shot was parried.

It seemed the Dutch side would ease to victory, but before half time Astra had turned the game totally on its head. On 25 minutes Fernando Henrique beat Sergio Rochet with  backpost header from a corner, before Denis Alibec finished off a well worked free kick to make it 2-2. In the third minute of first half injury time Astra completed the astounding comeback with Alexandru Dandea making it 3-2.

In the second half both sides had chances, but neither could add to the score, with Janssen seeing a late goal disallowed for offside.

The second leg moves to Alkmaar next week and although AZ have two away goals to count for, they will be disappointed that they didn’t take the chance to finish off the tie in Romania.

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