AZ Alkmaar's 6-1 defeat of VVV-Venlo on Saturday may have caught the eye, but it was the individual achievement of Kolbeinn Sigthórsson that stole the show as the 20-year-old claimed five of those goals to equal a club record.
Going into the fixture, Sigthórsson was not guaranteed to start up front, but once selected, the striker took his opportunity with both hands. He opened his account early on, had secured his hat-trick by half-time and scored his fifth with 21 minutes still remaining. To round off a memorable day for Icelandic football, Johann Gudmundsson – who like Sigthórsson is set to feature at the UEFA European Under-21 Championship finals in Denmark this summer – iced the cake with AZ's other goal.
For Sigthórsson, however, scoring in bulk is nothing new. "I once scored ten goals in a match for the youth team," he said. "Of course these five goals are fantastic for me. It gives you a lot of confidence. As a striker you need to score – I am always looking to score goals – so I am very happy with this tally. I think the first was the best one as I took the ball off the defender, headed straight towards goal and tucked my shot under the keeper. That one gave me extra strength."
The goals were particularly satisfying for the former HK Kópavogs forward as he had initially been told to play in a withdrawn role behind the strikers, before changing AZ coach Gertjan Verbeek's mind. "In training the coach said he wanted me to play as a No10, because Erik Falkenburg got injured, but I have rarely played there and it didn't feel good. So, as a team we asked the coach if he could play Maarten Martens in that position and he agreed, saying: 'Excellent, show me what you can do.' He was happy that we were mature enough to talk to him like that and I don't think it turned out too bad."
Verbeek confirmed Sigthórsson's version of events. "In the run-up to the match I was pleasantly surprised by a discussion between the guys," said the 48-year-old. "That is why I changed the lineup on the day of the match. The players have paid me back with a smashing victory."
Sigthórsson's haul equalled the club record set by the AZ's all-time leading goalscorer Kees Kist, who also struck five against VVV-Venlo, almost exactly 33 years ago, on 30 January 1977. Not that the starlet was aware of AZ's past master. "Kees Kist? No, sorry. I would have thought [that the record would be held by] Shota Arveladze or Danny Koevermans. Still, it is beautiful to write my name into AZ's history in this way."
Impressive though Sigthórsson's feat was, he did not break the Eredivisie record, which remains the preserve of Afonso Alves. The Brazilian struck seven times against Heracles Almelo on 7 October 2007 for sc Heerenveen, although Sigthórsson can nonetheless claim to be only the second foreign player to have scored five goals in a Dutch top-flight match.
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