AZ Alkmaar celebrated the 1,600th match in their history with a stirring 2-0 victory over Newcastle United FC that carried them into the UEFA Cup quarter-finals. Goals from strikers Shota Arveladze and Danny Koevermans undid the damage of last week's 4-2 first-leg loss in England as Louis van Gaal's side advanced on away goals.
AZ went into this game as the tournament's top scorers and did not take long to click into gear. Shay Given had already dived to keep out Julian Jenner's low effort when the Dutch team took the lead on 14 minutes, Koevermans delivering a low ball across goal from the right and Arveladze providing the close-range finish.
Newcastle almost replied instantly as Scott Parker lifted a shot just over from the edge of the area, but that was the only first-half threat from the visitors. AZ kept coming forward, dominating possession with their slick passing, and there was an anxious moment for Newcastle when the tricky Jenner went down under Paul Huntington's challenge as he broke into the box, but referee Bertrand Layec waved play on.
Dyer goes close
AZ menaced again straight after the restart as Moussa Dembélé blazed over but the hosts had an escape at the other end on 54 minutes when Kieron Dyer burst through on to Nolberto Solano's quick free-kick. After rounding Boy Waterman, however, the Newcastle midfielder shot past the far post from a narrow angle. How Dyer must have rued that miss two minutes later as Koevermans headed AZ's second goal from Maarten Martens' corner.
Chances now came and went for both sides. Koevermans' spectacular overhead attempt flew centimetres over, then Waterman stopped Parker's low drive. Glenn Roeder's team were enjoying more of the ball but still lived dangerously. On 72 minutes Jenner again got clear down the right yet was denied by Given. Moments later Koevermans rounded Given only for Steven Taylor to block his goalbound strike. Then Huntington headed off the line from Dembélé.
Newcastle odyssey over
With the clock ticking down, Obafemi Martins shot straight at Waterman from a promising position although AZ remained the likelier scorers, Given turning an Arveladze effort on to the post. For Newcastle, this was their first defeat in 14 European matches dating back to the UEFA Intertoto Cup in mid-July. Their long journey is over but AZ's adventure goes on.
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