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Early strikes plot AZ route

Thursday, 25 November 2004

[1] AZ Alkmaar scored three first-half goals as they cruised to their second UEFA Cup Group F victory against KS Amica Wronki.

Commanding performance

[2] Barry van Galen, Martijn Meerdink and Stein Huysegems scored in the first 39 minutes, and though Jacek Dembinski pulled one back from the penalty spot, Amica slipped out of the competition.

Form side

[3] AZ, the Eredivisies form side, were immediately on the attack as Meerdink pounced on Krysztof Kowalczyks early back-pass, but shot into the side-netting. The Dutch side were not kept out for long. Goalkeeper Maciej Mielcarz palmed away Kenneth Perezs 12th-minute free-kick, but Amica could not clear and when the ball was played back in Van Galen headed in.

Memorable week

[4] The goal capped a memorable week for Van Galen, who became, at 34, the oldest player to make his debut for the Netherlands last Wednesday, before scoring in AZ's victory against RKC Waalwijk last weekend.

Meerdink goal

[5] AZ were cruising and on 36 minutes Mielcarz was beaten again when Meerdink headed in Perezs cross from the left. The third followed soon after. Van Galen burst into the box, and though Mielcarz knocked the ball off his feet, it broke for Huysegems who rolled it into the empty net to add to the two goals he scored against AJ Auxerre two weeks ago.

Burkhardt impresses

[6] AZ sat back in the second half allowing Amica to seize the initiative. Marcin Burkhardt came on for Krysztof Kowalczyk and added a sense of urgency to the Polish sides play and on 52 minutes they clawed their way back into the match.

Dembinski penalty

[7] Jan Kromkamp fouled Zbigniew Grzybowski just inside the area and Jacek Dembinski sent Henk Timmer the wrong way from the spot. Amica pressed to the end, but the damage had already been done.

Amica's Jaroslaw Bieniuk (left) challenges Jan Kromkamp