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Landzaat marks up perfect ten

Thursday, 2 December 2004

[1] AZ Alkmaar clinched their place in the last 32 of the UEFA Cup with a narrow 1-0 Group F victory against Rangers FC, the Dutch side's third successive win on the European stage and their tenth victory in a row in all competitions.

Superb goal

[2] The game was decided by a superbly worked team goal in the seventh minute. The move started down the left with a defence splitting run from Stein Huysegems, whose pass found Martijn Meerdink in the area. His perfect lay-off was met by the on-coming Danny Landzaat, who smashed the ball past Stefan Klos in the Rangers goal.

Injury problems

[3] The Scottish side went into the match boasting the same 100 per cent Group F record as AZ after two games. However, coach Alex McLeish was missing five first-team regulars through injury, and they started off shakily as AZ's fluent passing game had Rangers on the back foot from the kick-off.

Klos saves

[4] After the shock of conceding the early goal, Rangers began to settle down, with Dado Pršo and Nacho Novo combining well in attack. However, AZ still looked most likely to score and Landzaat nearly doubled his tally in the 20th minute but his shot was well saved by Klos after the Rangers defence had failed to stop the Dutchman's surging run.

Opdam mistake

[5] Rangers wasted what was to prove their best chance of the entire match nine minutes before the break. A mistake from AZ defender Barry Opdam, who let the ball run under his foot while under no pressure, left Novo with a clear strike on goal. However, despite keeping his balance after winning possession, the Spanish forward fired straight at goalkeeper Henk Timmer.

Rangers substitution

[6] McLeish decided to make a change at half-time, taking off ineffective Danish winger Peter Løvenkrands and bringing on French forward Hamed Namouchi. However, it was the home side who nearly added to their tally in the 66th minute.

Defensive mix-up

[7] A long ball caused confusion between Michael Ball and Klos in the Rangers defence. Ball eventually cleared but only as far as Barry van Galen, who saw Klos still out of his goal. His looping header looked like it was floating in, but the German keeper managed to race back and catch the ball before it crossed the line.

Goalmouth scramble

[8] Despite having the majority of possession after the break, Rangers could not penetrate the AZ rearguard. Substitute Stephen Hughes had a header cleared off the line after a goalmouth scramble and Pršo was deprived by a last-ditch challenge.

Thrilling finale

[9] With AJ Auxerre defeating KS Amica Wronki 5-1 in the other match, the group is set for a thrilling finale on Matchday 5. Rangers need a home draw with Auxerre to book their place, but should the French side win, and Grazer AK beat AZ in the other match, then the Scottish Premier League side will miss out on qualification having led the group over the first two Matchdays.

Danny Landzaat scored AZ's crucial goal against Rangers