AZ brush aside ten-man NEC
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AZ Alkmaar returned to winning ways by firing four unanswered goals past ten-man NEC Nijmegen at the AFAS Stadion.

All of the goals arrived in the second half as Jozy Altidore bagged a brace, either side of a Rasmus Elm penalty, before captain Niklas Moisander completed the rout late on.

NEC's capitulation came after the dismissal of Pavel Cmovs for hacking down Maarten Martens after 63 minutes, which resulted in Elm's successful penalty to make it 2-0.

Victory for AZ helped put the disappointment of back-to-back defeats to one side. Gertjan Verbeek's side lost 2-1 away to Aalesund in the first leg of their UEFA Europa League play-off in midweek after suffering a 2-0 reverse at FC Twente last weekend.

AZ made most of the running in a goalless first half, although they had to survive an early scare when goalkeeper Esteban Alvarado did well to close the angle on Melvin Platje who shot wide.

The hosts then probed without finding the net with Charlison Benschop just failing to connect with a Simon Poulsen cross, while Altidore headed straight at Jasper Cillessen.

It took AZ nine minutes into the second half to open the scoring through Altidore. The USA international headed an Elm corner straight at Cillessen, but the ball rebounded back to him to lash in from close range.

AZ began to step up a gear and the pressure told on NEC's young defender Cmovs as he felled Martens in the area and as the last man was shown a straight red card. Elm drove the resulting penalty down the middle of the goal with Cillessen diving to his left.

It was all AZ thereafter and an intricate passing move between Altidore and Adam Maher after 73 minutes ended with a simple finish for the striker to bag his second of the game.

A fourth goal then arrived five minutes before time when Elm's fierce free-kick was only parried by Cillessen and skipper Moisander pounced to rifle home inside the six-yard box.