BRENDAN WIMBERLY - Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Despite two red cards in the first 20 minutes, Aron Johannsson and AZ took their chances wisely, and nearly walked away with a miraculous victory before a 90th minute goal made them settle for a tie.
Johannsson put in an industrious shift at the top of AZ's formation, logging 78 hard minutes on the afternoon.
First, Niklas Viergever was sent off for a desperation tackle after Roda attacker Guus Hupperts got past AZ keeper Esteban Alvarado in the 12th minute. Shortly thereafter, Nemanja Gudelj joined Viergever in the official's book after receiving a red card for a hard tackle on Anouar Kali in the 19th minute.
Despite being down to nine men with seventy minutes still to play, AZ were able to take the first lead through Mattias Johansson. The Swede struck a low shot which Roda keeper Filip Kurto couldn't get to, making it 1-0 in favor of the short handed AZ.
The initial lead didn't last long as Willjan Pluim was put in on net by a nice pass from Krisztian Nemeth and the midfielder had no problem beating Alvarado to tie the score.
Although Roda was dominating possession, Aron Johannsson was staying active up top, and his persistence paid off in the 39th minute. Celso Ortiz's pass led Johannsson down the left side of the penalty area, where the American faked a shot with his left foot, getting Rolieny Bonevaciaon on the ground, before cutting back onto his right foot and curling a shot inside the far post.
The lead almost lasted, but Roda were able to pull a point back at the final whistle. Vasil Shkurtaj's shot deflected off of Markus Henriksen, and Alvarado couldn't get to the redirected ball, as AZ almost walked out with a miracle three points.
AZ's next game comes in the Europa League on Thursday when they host Maccabi Haifa.