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Goryainov stars but Metalist draw puts AZ through

AZ Alkmaar 1-1 FC Metalist Kharkiv
A stunning performance from keeper Oleksandr Goryainov denied AZ victory, though a point was enough to take the Dutch side into the last 32.

Adam Maher and Jóhann Gudmundsson celebrate AZ's goal
Adam Maher and Jóhann Gudmundsson celebrate AZ's goal ©Getty Images

AZ Alkmaar are through to the UEFA Europa League round of 32, but goal difference alone kept them above FK Austria Wien following their 1-1 draw with Group G winners FC Metalist Kharkiv.

Metalist goalkeeper Oleksandr Goryainov shone on a rainy night in the Netherlands, making save after save to deny Gertjan Verbeek's enterprising side victory. Metalist took the lead late in the first half with Marko Dević beating Esteban Alvarado on a rare foray forward, but while Adam Maher responded within seconds, Goryainov was not to be beaten again.

With the bulk of their South American stars given the night off, Metalist were not their usual, sparkling selves, and the Dutch league leaders were given the run of the field. Goryainov must have had an inkling of what was to come after he was called on to deny Nick Viergever and, from the rebound, Maher, early on with Roy Beerens further testing the 36-year-old's reflexes with an angled blast.

Metalist converted their first presentable chance, Dević turning Oleg Shelayev's ball into the net after AZ failed to clear a corner. The 18-year-old Maher replied within a minute, finishing at the near post after Etienne Reijnen charged for the byline to flip the ball into his path. AZ were on the up, and Rasmus Elm fired just wide from distance and hit the bar with a mighty free-kick before the break.

Goryainov earned his luck, though, saving brilliantly from Beerens and Elm just after the hour, and then flinging himself full-stretch to fend away Jozy Altidore's goal-bound effort. With news filtering through that Austria Wien, 2-0 winners at Malmö FF, would not be able to overturn their inferior goal difference, AZ eased off and protected their point in the closing stages.