A Johan Berg Gudmundsson goal gave AZ Alkmaar a 1-0 win in Israel over Maccabi Haifa as they got their Europa League group campaign underway.

  • By Michael Bell
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gudmundsson bIn a scrappy first half, Maccabi haifa dominated possession, but posed hardly any threat to Alvarado in the AZ goal, while the away side were happy to play on the counter attack.

The second half started the same, with the home side with the ball, but unable to find a way through the Alkmaar side’s organised defence.

On 66 minutes, AZ came close to opening the scoring when Willie Overtoom picked the ball up just over the halfway line, before storming forward, and firing a powerful effort just over the bar.

On 70 minutes, AZ Alkmaar had the lead when Johan Berg Gudmundsson prodded home a cross from the left hand side.

Minutes later Maccabi Haifa came close to an equaliser, but Ruben Rayos’s shot from the edge of the box hit the top of the bar, and went harmlessly over.

The home side pushed for the last 20 minutes for the equaliser, but AZ defended excellently to hold out for the win, and grab the three points.

Gertjan Verbeek will be delighted with his sides win, and they have started the group stages perfectly, while in the groups other match PAOK came from behind to beat Shakhter Karagandy 2-1.

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