The winning goal was scored by Simon Gustafson after a smooth attack via Sean Klaiber and Gyrano Kerk, the dangerous right flank of FC Utrecht.
The 1-0 result was a meager reflection of the conditions on the field, because FC Utrecht was very dominant and created plenty of opportunities. Striker Adrian Dalmau alone already had three great opportunities, while youthful Davy van den Berg hit the woodwork and Sean Klaiber put AZ goalkeeper Marco Bizot to work with a huge cannonball. Substitute Jonas Arweiler also had a great chance in the final phase.
It was striking how FC Utrecht managed to impose its will on number two last season. With Gyrano Kerk as a major driver and thanks to the easy footballing midfield with Simon Gustafson, Adam Maher and the youthful Van den Berg, FC Utrecht managed to hand out the sheets.
National coach Ronald Koeman is a spectator in Utrecht.
Ⓒ ANP / HH
Only after FC Utrecht coach John van den Brom had changed his entire team after an hour, AZ managed to get a better grip on the match, resulting in a great chance for striker Ferdy Druijf, who missed just wide. Zakaria Aboukhlal then encountered FC Utrecht goalkeeper Maarten Paes. The goalie, recovered from a serious shoulder injury, defended the goal of FC Utrecht for 90 minutes.
Attenuating circumstance for AZ trainer Arne Slot is that he has to miss a number of strongholds, including defensive attackers Myron Boadu and Calvin Stengs, due to injuries. In addition, AZ played with two mix teams, while FC Utrecht played for an hour with the currently strongest eleven and half an hour with ‘the reserves’.
Large number of absenteeism
At FC Utrecht, Django Warmerdam played for an hour as a left back and in addition to Van den Berg, Tommy St. Jago also got the chance in the starting eleven as a young player. Van den Brom was unable to rely on the injured Sander van de Streek, Patrick Joosten, Joris van Overeem, Leon Guwara and Willem Janssen. Urby Emanuelson, whose contract with FC Utrecht has expired but who trains with him in preparation for the new season, played with the Utrecht team for the last half hour.
AZ will practice again on Wednesday. The opponent is then PEC Zwolle.
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