AZ has been eliminated in the third qualifying round of the Champions League. The team of trainer Arne Slot lost 2-0 against Dynamo Kiev on Tuesday in Ukraine.
Sloppy ball loss kills AZ
Despite the loss, the European adventure for AZ is not over yet. Because the team settled with Viktoria Plzen in the second preliminary round, it is certain of participation in the group stage of the Europa League.
AZ had the better of the game in Kiev before half-time, but handed it over in the second half. Gerson Rodrigues, former Telstar player, gave the home team the lead. Nicholas Shaparenko made the decision just before time.
AZ had to survive a total of three preliminary rounds to qualify for the group stage of the Champions League. The first round was taken with Viktoria Plzen, although an extension was needed.
Where AZ received the Czechs in the AFAS Stadium, it drew away matches against Dynamo Kiev. The encounters in the first three preliminary rounds have no returns, the play-offs (in which Dynamo Kiev play against AA Gent or Rapid Wien) are over two games.
Due to the elimination of AZ, Ajax is the only Dutch participant in the Champions League. The team from Amsterdam, who ended on goal difference above AZ in the aborted Eredivisie season, qualified directly for the group stage.
The game in the empty Stadium Olimpiyskyi initially seemed to go according to plan for AZ. The team did not give anything away and patiently waited for opportunities. They also came in the first half. Dani de Wit, however, just fell short of tapping in a cross from Albert Gudmundsson. Myron Boadu was accurate a bit later, but at the cross it turned out that the ball had been over the end line.
The first sign of life for the home team came just after the break. A hard bet by Vitaliy Buyalskyy was removed by Ron Vlaar with his head in front of the line. At the start of the second half, AZ picked up the thread again and Calvin Stengs shot just wide from the turn.
Dynamo Kiev’s goal in the 49th minute came out of the blue. Fredrik Midtsjø clumsily lost the ball just in front of his own penalty area, after which former Telstar player Gerson Rodrigues was able to score from close range from a Buyalskyy cross.
The Ukrainians withdrew with the lead in their pocket, leaving AZ hardly any room to create anything. Goalkeeper Marco Bizot prevented Vladyslav Supriaha from making the counter 2-0.
To give his team some new energy, Slot brought Ferdy Druijf and Oussama Idrissi as substitutes. The latter got a chance at the equalizer, but shot just over.