The playoffs for the last remaining Europa League spot began on Wednesday as Groningen faced Vitesse and Heerenveen travelled to AZ.

  • By Michael Bell

berghuis adGroningen left it late to seal a 1-0 win over Vitesse at the Euroborg as Lorenzo Burnet struck the only goal with two minutes left. Vitesse should have taken the lead in the first half but after Renato Ibarra was fouled in the box, Christian Atsu saw his weak penalty kept out by Marco Bizot.

It’s another poor result for Vitesse, who are now on a run of eight games without a win, and are missing key man Lucas Piazon, who has been allowed to cut his loan short after an alleged fall out with boss Peter Bosz.

In the other first round tie, Marco van Basten took his current side, Heerenveen, to face the club he will be joining this summer, AZ.

Unlike the other tie, this match up is nearly over with AZ running out comprehensive 3-0 winners at the AFAS Stadion. Celso Ortiz handed the home side the lead in the first half before a Nemanja Gudelj penalty, and a Steven Berghuis strike settled the game. There was also a huge blow for Heerenveen as Alfred Finnbogason was forced off the pitch with an ankle problem, and the striker’s season is now over.

The second legs of both ties will be played this Saturday.

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