AZ edge past Villarreal
By Mark Buckingham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
AZ Alkmaar advanced to the semi-finals of the Uefa Cup after a 1-1 draw with Villarreal.AZ Alkmaar advanced to the semi-finals of the Uefa Cup after hanging on for a 1-1 draw at home to Villarreal.
The Dutch outfit held a 2-1 advantage from the first leg but rode their luck to see off their Spanish opponents in the quarter final.
Villarreal, in particular Luciano Figueroa, were a threat from the kick-off and the Birmingham City flop should have given the visitors a seventh minute lead but he fired over when unmarked.
AZ made Villarreal pay for that miss just 60 seconds later when Kenneth Perez held off Marcos Senna and drilled a low shot beyond Jose Manuel Reina.
But by the 21st minute, both sides were down to ten men after AZ's Barry Opdam was sent off for two bookings in the space of a minute.
In the melee which ensued after Opdam's dismissal, Barry Van Galen fell to the ground which resulted in Jose Mari being shown the red card.
After the break, AZ almost gifted Villarreal an equaliser when Olaf Lindenbergh diverted the ball towards his own net but keeper Henk Timmer reacted swiftly to save.
Perez should have killed the tie off on 51 minutes when he slipped the offside trap but he struck a tame volley straight at Reina.
Villarreal responded with Figueroa heading straight at Timmer before the Argentinian equalised on 72 minutes when he converted a cross from his compatriot Juan Roman Riquelme.
A free kick from Riquelme whistled narrowly wide as Villarreal pressed for a goal which would have sent the tie into extra time.
That coveted goal should have arrived two minutes from time but Amando Sa somehow blazed over the bar when picked out unmarked six yards out by Antonio Guayre.
Time ran out for Villarreal to snatch a second goal as they failed to prevent AZ setting up a semi-final showdown with Sporting Lisbon.