AZ Alkmaar was knocked out of the UEFA Conference League at the semi-finals stage on Thursday by West Ham United. The Alkmaar side lost the match 1-0, losing 3-1 on aggregate.
AZ was boosted by Jesper Karlsson returning from injury. The Swedish winger returned last Sunday against FC Emmen in AZ’s 5-1 victory. It was his first game for a month, with this match being his first start. Jens Odgaard was still missing through injury, with Myron van Brederode going to the right wing.
Lucas Paqueta worried the AZ fans in the first half with a curler from a distance, but the shot went just past the post. AZ’s best chance of the first half fell to Japanese right back Yukinari Sugawara, but his attempt was blocked.
Like the first leg, neither side created many chances due to a lack of quality.
West Ham defender Nayef Aguerd should have opened the scoring after 82 minutes after good work from Michail Antonio sent the ball into his path, but the Moroccan scuffed his shot, rolling it wide.
West Ham put the game to bed in the fourth minute of injury time on the counter as substitute Pablo Fornals put the ball through the last defender’s legs before finishing superbly by hitting the ball into the far corner out of the reach of Maty Ryan.
There were crowd disturbances at the final whistle, with several players running over to try to control the commotion. AZ will now focus on their last two matches of the Eredivisie season. Pascal Jansen’s side are two points behind Ajax with one game to go. If they were to catch Ajax and finish third, they would qualify for the Europa League next season. West Ham will face Fiorentina or FC Basel in the final in Prague, Czech Republic.
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