BRENDAN WIMBERLY - Monday, March 24, 2014
Aron Johannsson squandered a few golden opportunities, but AZ were still able to take down Zwolle on Sunday.
AZ 2 - 1 PEC Zwolle
Aron Johannsson played 73 minutes as AZ ground out a win against a resilient Zwolle, who put in a valiant effort on the road.
Johannsson whiffed on a header from a Steven Berguis cross in the sixth minute, but Zwolle keeper Diedrik Boer was frozen awaiting the header, and couldn't reach the cross as it bounced softly into the bottom left corner, giving Berghuis his eighth goal of the year.
Nemanja Gudelj put the host up by two in the 14th minute. After a series a sky high headers in the Zwolle penalty area, one eventually fell to the Serbian international, and Gudelj slotted a volley inside the left upright.
Zwolle responded impressively after AZ's second goal, and bit back in the 43th minute with one of their own. Jesper Drost sent an out-swinging cross from the left flank towards the near post where Mustafa Saymak headed it just inside the left upright.
In the 53rd minute Johannsson stepped through a Joost Broerse tackle and drew enough contact to send him tumbling to the ground in the penalty area. Johannsson took the ensuing penalty, but Boer guessed correctly and dove to his right to make the save.
The American striker showed up in dangerous spots throughout the game, but wasted a few promising chances before being removed for Denni Advic in the 73rd minute.
AZ solidify their hold on seventh-place with the win, and are now only one point shy of sixth-place Heerenveen. They square off with Ajax in semi-finals of the Dutch Cup on Thursday.
Charles Kazlauskas played the full 90 minutes in Helmond's 1-1 home draw with Telstar.
Dion Watson did not make Fortuna Sittard's bench on Friday for their 1-0 home loss to Jong Ajax.