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AZ bottom but not sunk yet

Published: Wednesday 25 November 2009, 12.00CET
AZ Alkmaar failed to reach the last 16 in their first campaign but Gill Swerts said there was "still plenty to play for", though a 0-0 draw against Olympiacos FC left them at the foot of Group H.
by Derek Brookman
from Alkmaar
AZ bottom but not sunk yet
AZ's Jeremain Lens and Enzo Maresca battle for possession in their Group H meeting ©Getty Images

Match statistics

AZOlympiacos

Goals scored0
 
0
Attempts on target3
 
4
Attempts off target11
 
8
Corners2
 
9
Offsides3
 
3
Fouls committed19
 
10
Yellow cards2
 
2
Red cards0
 
0

Standings

Last updated: 03/10/2013 16:21 CET

Legend:

P: Played   
Pts: Points   
 
Published: Wednesday 25 November 2009, 12.00CET

AZ bottom but not sunk yet

AZ Alkmaar failed to reach the last 16 in their first campaign but Gill Swerts said there was "still plenty to play for", though a 0-0 draw against Olympiacos FC left them at the foot of Group H.

AZ Alkmaar's first taste of UEFA Champions League football will end in disappointment, but there was more than just despondency in the home dressing room after a goalless draw against Olympiacos FC saw any chance of a second-placed finish slip from their grasp.

Taking positives
"We're undefeated in three home matches, which is especially good considering we had to play Arsenal," said AZ defender Gill Swerts, "and we can still qualify for the Europe League if we win our next match in Liege, so there's still plenty to play for." The Belgian was slightly surprised that the visitors attacked as much as they did, especially in the first half, but felt this helped his side's cause. "It was better for us because we had more space. In particular it was good for Jeremain Lens, because he's fast and can turn more quickly than their defenders."

Fast Lens
Lens himself rued his team's profligacy. "We could have won, we had enough chances, but we – including myself - just didn't take them," said the striker, who turned 22 on the day of the game and was a constant thorn in the defence of the Greek champions. "Luck wasn't with us this evening. I think if we'd managed just one goal then Olympiacos couldn't have equalised, but it wasn't to be."

'Good point'
The visitors were obviously very content with their first away point of this season's UEFA Champions League campaign. "We're not quite there yet, but we'll try to finish the job off against Arsenal at home," said Olympiacos defender Olof Mellberg. "It was very difficult for both teams out there today with the wind. Overall I felt we were solid and thought we defended well. We had chances in both halves, but it's a good point."

Praise for keeper
Team-mate Enzo Maresca praised the opponents. "It was not easy because they are a very good team. We tried to win, because we would have been through, but I think in the end the result was about right." He also acknowledged the debt his team had to their 38-year-old goalkeeper Antonis Nikopolidis. "Everybody knows him, not just as a player but as a person. It's very important to have a good keeper like him. To be honest, this year he is doing well in every game. Age is not a problem for him at all at the moment."

Last updated: 25/11/09 11.01CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2010/matches/round=2000028/match=2000442/postmatch/quotes/index.html#az+bottom+sunk

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