Report: enthusiastic fans and a point when AZ Women return to the stadium

Report: enthusiastic fans and a point when AZ Women return to the stadium Sport

No fewer than four thousand spectators attended the return of the women’s team in the AZ stadium in Alkmaar. Before the match against FC Twente, the enthusiastic audience could enjoy themselves in the fan square with games, a tour of the players bus and a photo shoot. And, oh yes, to complete the fun, the match against the leaders in the Premier League ended in a nice draw: 2-2.

The fact that the match was overshadowed by a number of large gray clouds did not spoil the fun. Young, enthusiastic supporters were already in the fan zone well before the first whistle. “I support AZ! I hope they will win today, but I secretly think that Twente will win anyway. I like everything that has to do with AZ!”, says the boy enthusiastically. He’s standing in line at the AZ photo booth. In his AZ shirt, with a scarf wrapped around his neck to protect him from the fresh wind, he stands waiting for a photo he will never forget.

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“I have already been on the AZ bus and afterwards I will have my picture taken with as many girls from the team as possible. I am also wearing my AZ shirt with Spaan on the back, hopefully she will sign my shirt.” says another young supporter with a big smile.

4,382 days

It took 4,382 days before supporters could admire the women in the stadium again. When the KNVB decided to establish a premier league for women in 2007, AZ immediately participated in the competition. With this, the Alkmaar club, together with five other clubs, marked the start of women’s football on Dutch fields.

With great success, because AZ was immediately successful with three national championships won, later also followed by the KNVB Cup and participation in European tournaments. When main sponsor DSB went bankrupt, AZ withdrew from the women’s premier league. The return followed at the end of 2022 in collaboration with VV Alkmaar, after which the club license was taken over with effect from the ’23/’24 season.

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During the international break, AZ saw the ideal opportunity to have its women’s team play in the stadium. A dream for supporters and players, who probably can’t even remember the last time. An exception to this is captain Desiree van Lunteren. At the start of her career, she was also under contract with AZ and played matches against FC Twente and the Champions League match against Olympique Lyon.

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AZ took the lead surprisingly quickly against FC Twente thanks to Floor Spaan. The team’s top scorer needed just four minutes to make it 1-0. This was received with much cheering in the stands.

The joy was short-lived. Four minutes later it was equal: goalkeeper Femke Liefting was awarded a clutch goal, which Renate Jansen was credited with. Despite the fact that AZ is only ninth in the competition, it managed to provide a good match for the leader. A minute after the equalizer, Spaan could have made it 2-1, but her attempt ended up just wide of the post.

Ten percent extra

Not AZ, but Twente took the lead. Ella Poddemors crossed midfield halfway through the first half, came in from the right and shot the ball hard behind Liefting. AZ went looking for the equalizer with the support of the crowd. The thousands of children, friends and family members chanted “AZ” loud and clear through the stadium, giving the team an extra ten percent.

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The encouragement was rewarded in the 85th minute when Isa Dekker got the ball at her feet and without hesitation shot the ball low into the corner: 2-2. The supporters emphatically celebrated with the home team. The children jumped on the chairs and then celebrated for a long time during the autograph round.

Goal scorer Floor Spaan scored her ninth goal of the season against FC Twente: “When I saw the ball end up in the goal, I was overjoyed. It is a dream come true. As a little girl you dream of being able to play in a Dutch stadium , but if you also manage to score, that’s the icing on the cake. It’s a strange feeling and sight to see how many people are calling your name and that so many people are coming for us. Hopefully we can play here more often. “

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Isa Dekker became the match winner with her equalizer in the final phase and caused joy among the supporters for 25 minutes. “Not normal fun! And then also in the stadium. That just makes it extra special.”

“It was wonderful to play here. We have been looking forward to it for weeks and the draw makes it even better. I have never had to sign so many autographs and I have also never heard of so many girls named Isa and standing at the front left. That means a lot for me and hopefully I can be an example for many young girls,” says Dekker with a big smile.

Ajax benefits

Because Ajax won 3-2 against PEC Zwolle today, the gap with leader Twente has shrunk to four points. AZ remains ninth and is just above Telstar, which was beaten last night by Fortuna Sittard (0-8).


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