Groningen have beaten AZ Alkmaar 3-0 in the second leg of the Eredivisie play-off, and they will play in the Europa League next season.

  • By Michael Bell
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chery a koThe first leg finished 0-0 at the AFAS Stadion on Thursday, but the deadlock was broken after 24 minutes at the Euroborg, as Tjarron Chery took the ball past two AZ defenders before slamming the ball into the bottom corner, to give Groningen the lead.

AZ were furious not to be given a penalty soon after, when it appeared Aron Johannsson was pushed down in the box by Eric Botteghin, but the referee waved play on. On 33 minutes it was 2-0 as Hans Hateboer’s low shot from outside the box squirmed under AZ goalkeeper Esteban’s hands.

With 30 minutes to go, Chery netted his second goal of the game to make it 3-0, with a low shot from the left hand side of the box which nestled into the bottom corner.

The away side could find no way back into the game, and Groningen comfortably held on to the 3-0 win, with the final whistle met by celebrations around the packed Euroborg. It was a great performance by Edwin van de Looi’s side and over the two legs, they proved to be much better than AZ.

Groningen have never played in the Europa League before, with their last European experience in the 2007/08 season when the competition was still called the UEFA Cup. That season they only reached the first round of the competition, before being knocked out on penalties by Fiorentina.

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