Goals: 8. Everton 1-0, 48. Overtoom 2-0, 61. Fledderus 3-0, 77. Pellè 3-1, 77. El Hamdaoui 3-2
Yellow cards: El Hamdaoui
Red cards: Swerts, Pellè
Referee: Reinold Wiedemeijer
Line-up: Sergio Romero, Kew Jaliens, Niklas Moisander (54. Pontus Wernbloom), Ragnar Klavan, Sébastien Pocognoli, Moussa Dembélé (46. Graziano Pellè), David Mendes da Silva, Stijn Schaars (73. Gill Swerts), Maarten Martens, Mounir El Hamdaoui, Jeremain Lens.
ALMELO - Eredivisie champions AZ have missed their start to the season in Almelo on Saturday night as they lost to Heracles: 3-2. Substitutes Gill Swerts and Graziano Pellè were sent off with a red card in the dying minutes of the game.
AZ started well with Ragnar Klavan as the most striking name in the starting line-up (the Estonian international barely played any pre-season games after having his appendix removed). Kwame Quansah prevented a Mounir El Hamdaoui goal by clearing his effort off the line just five minutes in. A few minutes later, the home side opened the scoring through Everton. AZ then failed to create decent chances and kept running into the black and white defensive wall.
The second half started just as vividly as the first. Willie Overtoom double the home side's lead. Mark-Jan Fledderus then added a third on the one hour mark with a well taken free kick. AZ came back by scoring two goals late on as Graziano Pellè and El Hamdaoui scored within a minute of each other to bring the score to 2-3.
AZ was denied one of the most blatant penalty kicks of the century when Pontus Wernbloom was clearly pulled to the ground. The drama was completed when Gill Swerts (elbow) and Graziano Pellè (kicking) were sent off with a straight red card each.
I'm not too worried, we always crash and burn at the opening stage of the season. Add to that the fact that we've always struggled on Heracles's stupid astroturf and the fact we were denied the most obvious penalty kick ever witnessed by humans and the whole game is pretty much a freak incident.
Next week will be better.