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AZ Alkmaar make hard work of Tuzla City as Dundee United await Europa Conference League fate

De Wit breaks the deadlock from the spot
De Wit breaks the deadlock from the spot

AZ Alkmaar remain firm favourites to face Dundee United in the Europa Conference League following a 1-0 victory over Tuzla City in the second qualifying round.

However, the Bosnian outfit still have a fighting chance following a heartening first leg display in the Netherlands.

Dani de Wit scored the only goal of the game from the penalty spot, ensuring the Eredivisie side take a slim lead to Sarajevo next week.

The winners will progress to a tie against United, with the first leg taking place at Tannadice on August 4 before the return seven days later.

Dani de Wit attempts to reach a deep cross

Many Arabs have already booked travel and accommodation for Alkmaar and Amsterdam for their first continental campaign in a decade.

On this evidence, Tuzla may just have something to say about that.

Spot-kick

European debutants Tuzla were anything but overawed at the AFAS Stadion, with centre-back Jasmin Celikovic flashing a header inches wide of the post in the early knockings.

However, the hosts claimed the lead from the penalty spot.

Jens Odgaard, a Β£2 million summer signing from Serie A side Sassuolo, produced a sumptuous turn and dashed into the box, only to be hauled down by Tuzla keeper Nevres Fejzic. De Wit made no mistake from 12 yards.

AZ left-back Milos Kerkez, who struggled defensively against Tuzla winger Belmin Mesinovic, rattled the bar with a stunning effort from distance on the stroke of half-time.

Odgaard headed over the bar from point-blank range after the break, while Greek goal machine Vangelis Pavlidis fluffed his lines from six yards when an inviting cross awkwardly struck his chest.

And Tuzla passed up a golden opportunity to level in Alkmaar when a loose ball fell to Mirzad Mehanovic in the box, only for the midfielder to dink his effort wide.

Mesinovic, excellent throughout, lashed another effort wide from 25 yards in Tuzla’s final attack.

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