AZ and Ajax progress in Europe, Twente bow out to Fenerbahçe

AZ goalkeeper Mathew Ryan proved the difference against Brann. Photo: ANP/Ed van de Poel

AZ Alkmaar scraped through to the group stage of the UEFA Conference League on penalties after giving up a two-goal lead against Norwegian side Brann.

After the first leg in Alkmaar ended 1-1, goals by Mayckel Lahdo and Sven Mijnans looked to have put AZ firmly in control of the tie after half an hour, but Brann pulled one back just before half-time when defender Fredrik Knudsen headed in a corner.

Ruben van Bommel slid in to restore the two-goal cushion early in the second half, but Brann substitute Joachim Soltvedt fired in a free-kick with half an hour to play before Japhet Sery Larsen’s header levelled the scores seven minutes from time.

The shoot-out was deadlocked until the sixth round of kicks, when Mathew Ryan managed to palm out Frederik Børsting’s next spot-kick before new Portuguese signing Alexandre Penetra fired AZ into the group stages.

Ajax progressed in the Europa League despite a 1-0 home loss to Loedogorets, thanks to the Amsterdammers’ 4-1 win in the first leg in Bulgaria a week ago.

As expected, Twente Enschede bowed out of the Conference League against Fenerbahçe, as they followed up their 5-1 defeat in Turkey with a 1-0 reverse in the Grolsch Veste stadium.

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