Dundalk earn historic draw with AZ Alkmaar as Ciaran Kilduff scores late
By Mark Crellin
Last Updated: 16/09/16 6:15am
Dundalk salvaged a point from their debut game in the Europa League as Ciaran Kilduff's dramatic late goal secured a 1-1 draw at AZ Alkmaar.
Dundalk were up against it as the match entered the dying minutes, trailing by a goal and down to 10 men following the dismissal of captain Stephen O'Donnell.
But, in the final minute of normal time, Daryl Horgan sent over a pinpoint cross and Kilduff headed home to delight the travelling fans.
Horgan was outstanding throughout the match and led the way as Dundalk matched their Dutch hosts for much of the contest.
But AZ were first to threaten, Alireza Jahanbakhsh hitting the post within two minutes of the game kicking off.
However, Dundalk soon found their feet and David McMillan shot wide after a great run from Horgan, who then drew an excellent save from Sergio Rochet.
Alkmaar appeared to be unfortunate prior to the interval, though, as Fred Friday was ruled offside after thumping a shot into the net.
And the hosts began to attack relentlessly after the interval, before grabbing the breakthrough goal on the hour.
Classy midfielder Stijn Wuytens was the scorer, getting on the end of a long ball and bravely heading into the net, before receiving lengthy treatment for concussion after colliding with goalkeeper Gary Rogers.
Wuytens was eventually carried off wearing a neck brace but AZ later announced that the Belgian had regained consciousness.
Having fallen behind, the visitors lost O'Donnell when he fouled Ridgeciano Haps to pick up his second yellow card of the night, and AZ looked to double their lead, only for Andy Boyle to deny them a second goal with a clearance off the line.
And that set the stage for Kilduff to head home a late free-kick and ensure Dundalk became the first Irish team to earn a point in the group stages of a European tournament.