DAVID SMITH - Friday, August 23, 2013
Aron Johannsson continued his scoring streak for AZ as they all but secured their place in the group stage, while Conor O'Brien watched from the bench as the Wild Tigers secured a a draw at Elfsborg.
Atromitos FC 1 - 3 AZ Alkmaar
Aron Johannsson continued to show his hot scoring touch for AZ on Thursday evening, putting away the team's second and winning goal in their convincing win over Greek hosts Atromitos FC.
The game marks the fourth straight across all competitions in which the American striker has found his way onto the scoreboard.
After a relatively uneventful opening 45 minutes, AZ started the fireworks for a second half which saw a combined four goals from the two teams.
In the 51st minute, Johann Gudmondsson put the Dutch team ahead when he pulled down a cross from the right flank, took a touch to make space at the left edge of the six-yard box, and put his shot past the keeper with ease.
Johannsson then further strengthened his team's position with 16 minutes on the clock, controlling a pass on the break from Willie Overtoom and charging into the area, making his marking defender look helpless before coolly hitting his shot inside the near post.
Moments later, Dimitrios Papadopoulos brought the Greeks back to within one goal from the spot after he was felled by AZ keeper Esteban Alvarado, however Gudmondsson's second goal in the 93rd minute secured the win for the visitors.
With a two-goal aggregate lead and three away goals in the pocket, AZ simply need to avoid a complete collapse in next Thursday's home leg. Beforehand, they will look to sharpen their claws with a visit to winless FC Utrecht in Eredivisie play.
Brad Friedel was the backup keeper for Tottenham as they blew past their Georgian hosts Dinamo Tbilisi by a 5-0 scoreline.
Terrence Boyd is out for several weeks with a separated shoulder and did not play a role in Rapid Vienna's 1-0 home win over Georgians FC Dila Gori.
None of the young Americans at Molde were in uniform for their 2-0 home loss to Rubin Kazan. Backup keeper Evan Horvath and forward Ben Spencer were not selected for the gameday squad and Josh Gatt is out until at least November with injury.
Conor O'Brien was an unused substitute for Nordsjaelland on Thursday, as a 1-1 first-leg draw at Swedish team IF Elfsborg gave them a slight advantage for next Thursday's return leg in Farum.