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Malmö draw keeps AZ hanging on

Malmö FF 0-0 AZ Alkmaar
The Swedish side picked up a first point in Group G, a draw that leaves AZ needing a matchday six win to be sure of a last-32 spot.

AZ's Jozy Altidore is beaten to the ball by Malmö's Daniel Andersson
AZ's Jozy Altidore is beaten to the ball by Malmö's Daniel Andersson ©Getty Images

AZ Alkmaar need to beat FC Metalist Kharkiv on matchday six to be sure of joining the Ukrainian side in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 after a 0-0 draw at Malmö FF extended their winless away run in Europe to 15 games.

Neither Malmö goalkeeper Johan Dahlin nor AZ counterpart Esteban Alvarado had much cause for serious concern in Sweden, as Rikard Norling's men secured their first Group G point at the fifth attempt. Adam Maher fired wide for the visitors in the closing stages, and substitute Wílton Figueiredo had a shot smothered by Alvarado at the other end, but a late winner would have been more than either side deserved.

AZ top the Eredivisie, where they have lost just once all season, but looked far from lively before the break. Malmö kept them well marshalled and fashioned the better chances; Mathias Ranégie fired just off-target from 25 metres, Pontus Janssen headed a whisker wide from Ricardinho's free-kick out on the right, and Alvarado had to dive to direct a trundling Daniel Larsson shot around the post.

Gertjan Verbeek's side were less sheepish after the interval, and Charlison Benschop – who had come on for Roy Beerens midway through the first half – saw a dangerous, low drive pushed wide by Dahlin's fingertips. The keeper was then called on to repel an effort from the increasingly threatening Maher after the 18-year-old fashioned space in the box with some deft footwork.

AZ went for broke at the end, but a Malmö defence breached 13 times in the first four matchdays – more than any other side in the group stage – held firm.

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