Alkmaar edge into next stage
AZ Alkmaar edged into the last 32 of the UEFA Europa League on goal difference after two strikes in a minute saw them draw 1-1 with Group G winners Metalist Kharkiv.
AZ were in pole position to qualify in second ahead of Austria Vienna, who beat Malmo to finish level with AZ on eight points, but found themselves four goals short having drawn twice with the Eredivisie side. The Ukrainian side went ahead in the 37th minute through Marko Devic only for AZ, who had the better of play for most of the match, to draw level almost instantly through Adam Maher.
AZ wasted no time in taking aim on the Metalist goal, Rasmus Elm sliding a shot wide after just 90 seconds. Nick Viergever was next to try his luck for the Dutch side and his 30-yard effort was parried by Oleksandr Goryainov. Maher followed up the loose ball but the goalkeeper was again on hand to make the save.
It took Metalist 15 minutes to create their first serious chance, Sergey Valyaev connecting with Sebastian Blanco's corner only for Devic to make the block. A series of fouls from either side slowed the pace, with Roy Beerens getting things moving again for AZ with a 12-yard strike that was well saved by Goryainov.
Two goals in a minute
AZ goalkeeper Esteban Alvarado almost saw his punched clearance backfire after half an hour when the ball broke for Olexander Romanchuk, but he failed to hit the target from just outside the area. The visitors went ahead in the 37th minute, Valyaev's shot blocked by Viergever only for Devic to turn the ball home from six yards.
Remarkably, the lead lasted just a matter of seconds as AZ went right to the other end of the pitch to equalise, Etienne Reijnen's cross converted by the advancing Maher. The hosts finished the half stronger and almost went ahead moments after the resumption when Elm thudded the crossbar with a long-range free-kick.
Metalist struggled to get going after that and AZ could have had their second through Beerens on the hour, or from another Elm free-kick three minutes later. On both occasions Goryainov made the save. Yevhen Budnik and Milan Obradovic were both summoned from the Metalist bench but it was AZ that continued to look likelier in front of goal.