Fortuna leads defeat on visit to runner-up AZ
Fortuna failed to pull off another stunt after last week's draw against PSV, losing 3-1 to top-ranked AZ in Alkmaar. The only goal on the Sittard side was scored by Burak Yilmaz. AZ climbed to second place in the table, right behind leaders Feyenoord.
At Fortuna, Arianit Ferati started for the first time after his injury, and Tijjani Noslin was also given a starting place by head coach Julio Velázquez. Fortuna immediately tried to put the home club under pressure, AZ, however, managed to find the right solutions on the soccer. In the fourth minute, the home club took the lead. Jens Odgaard delivered a tailored cross from the right side to Dani de Wit, who had run away from the back of the Fortuna defense. From close range De Wit headed the ball into the net: 1-0.
Seven minutes later, however, the equalizer was already a fact. After a cross from Iñigo Córdoba, Remy Vita was clearly tackled in the penalty area by AZ defender Zinho Vanheusden. From the penalty spot, Burak again remained cold-blooded and scored his sixth goal of the season: 1-1. For the Turkish striker it meant a special double milestone: it was his 500th league game and goal number 250!
After 24 minutes Fortuna Sittard fell behind again in a most unfortunate way. Again Odgaard was at the basis of the goal, his cross ended via the body of Fortuna defender Ximo Navarro in the goal: 2-1. The home club continued to dominate, yet Fortuna was close to another equalizer seven minutes before halftime. A cross from Córdoba was deflected by Vanheusden, AZ goalkeeper Mathew Ryan narrowly avoided a second goal.
After halftime, AZ was the dominant team, scoring the third goal after 56 minutes of play. The goal was scored by Vangelis Pavlidis, who fired a fine shot after a cross from Yukinari Sugawara: 3-1. After just over an hour of play, Fortuna responded with a quadruple substitution, Paul Gladon, George Cox, Umaro Embaló and Oguzhan Özyakup making their appearance. The home club slowed down, allowing Fortuna Sittard the ball, but the guests' chances were few and far between. In the closing stages, only another substitute on the Sittard side, Thomas Buitink, was dangerous with a shot. His effort, however, disappeared over the goal.