Pessimistic version: yes, yes, we did, but we won’t put this game on display to the vitrine for sure.
15 minutes before the start the stadium was still half empty.
Thankfully for the end 12 000 people were counted on the tribunes.
The first actual attempt came in the 3rd minute Leković ran up on the left, then passed the ball to the middle, but the goalkeeper caught it. Two minutes later we got a free kick, 25 metres from the goal line, on the left. Babović stood behind the ball, ran up, kicked, but made it in a very awkward way. The ball dropped through the penalty area and rolled out of the field.
Then in the 10th minute we got another free kick. The distance from the goal line was approx. 18 metres. Now Andrija Živković kicked, but it hit the wall. Corner kick. Andrija Živković stood at the corner flag and shot. Aboubakar jumped up and headed the ball into the net perfectly. 1:0!!!! We are leading, after 10 minutes!!!!
This quick goal seemingly made the Dutch team confused. They were desperately trying to attack, almost cramped to equalize. Partizan defenders blocked them every single time, mostly they couldn’t make it even to our penalty area. They possessed the ball for the whole time, we could grab it only once, in the 21st minute, when Aboubakar got a very long pass on the left. He kicked it to the middle, but the goalkeeper caught the ball. The Dutch team got the ball back and they continued to attempt. Still it was only the 23rd minute when they could somewhat endanger our goal line. Hupperts ran up on the right side and passed it to the middle, but the arriving attacker was not fast enough to head or kick it to our goal line. The ball rolled out of the field through the left sideline.
A minute later Andrija Živković got the ball on the right. He passed it to Šaponjić in the middle, but a Dutch defender was faster and headed it away. The ball dropped in front of Balažic, who shot with a bicycle kick, but it was too high.
In the 28th minute Brežančić sent a sudden, distant shot to our goal, from the left. Živko Živković easily caught it.
The match was by default not the fastest of pace, but at this point it definitely slowed down, being on the verge of boring. The only interesting event was when two Partizan-players jumped up at the same time to head, but they clashed and they both needed medical attendance.
In the 33rd minute Alkmaar got a free kick, approx. 25 metres from the goal line on the left. The kick was headed to the middle by their player, right among Partizan-defenders. It happened surely for their surprise, making a goalmouth scramble. The the ball dropped in front of van der Linden. He immediately shot and scored. 1:1
In the 36th minute Aboubakar got the ball after a throw-in. He forwarded it with a delicate movement. Babović sped up, the assistant did not wave for offside. Babović was all alone, he shot, the goalkeeper saved.
Two minutes later Andrija Živković passed the ball to Vulićević on the right. Vulićević ran up and passed to the middle. Aboubakar thanked and shot the ball right into the net. GOOOOOOAAAAAAL!!! 2:1!!!!
In the 43rd minute Brašanac got a great pass from Andrija Živković. He shot from the distance, but it was too wide.
Meanwhile the fans were chanting Aboubakar’s name.
In the last minute a Dutch attacker woke up Živko Živković (who was most probably having a nap until this point) with a not too powerful shot. And whatever Aboubakar did on the field, fans gave him a great applause.
In the second half Alkmaar kept on trying ahead, while we kept on blocking them. The pace was slow, fans booed here and there, and this was the first time Average Fan was thinking ’what if switching to the France-Spain basketball game’ (which was a very exciting, spectacular game upon reports). But a Partizan-fan, even an average one remains faithful to the team, always and forever.
Maybe falls asleep. But just a bit.
In the 53rd minute we got a free kick. Andrija Živković shot it to the middle of the penalty area. Balažic headed it, but it was too high. Two minutes later again Andrija Živković got the ball.
He ran up in the middle and wanted to pass it to Šaponjić, but goalkeeper Rochet was quicker.
At this point nothing ever happened on the field. Really nothing. Some time around the 61st minute Janssen made a small upheaval with a shot from the left, but it was too high, we could continue our slumber until the 63rd minute, when Gouweleeuw got a pass. The Dutch player headed it, Živko Živković saved, the attempt ended in a corner kick.
In the 65th minute Aboubakar got the ball on the left. He ran up, dribbled and shot, again it ended in a corner-kick. Three minutes later Andrija Živković was wrestling with two defenders on the right side. Finally he could pass the ball to the middle, but the goalkeeper was quicker than Aboubakar.
In the 71st minute Leković passed the ball to Babović from the left. Babović headed it, but it was too high.
Alkmaar players were mostly just assisting to Partizan at this point. As for us, we were on half-speed. The result couldn’t be better, Dutch players seemingly resigned themselves to the defeat.
Then in the 76th minute Andrija Živković got fed up with this boredom. He got the ball and dribbled himself through the right side, making a fool of all defenders there. He passed to Babović, but his shot was sent to corner-kick by a defender.
In the 77th minute the Italian referee showed the red card to Hupperts after his 2nd red card.
In the 79th minute Živko Živković inactivated a Dutch attempt.
I swear I have to scrape up the mentionable moments with a rake, because at this point the game was totally dead. At some points it was a pain to watch it. Sometimes we had attempts, kicking the ball to the middle, but it seemed, we didn’t put too much energy into them.
Then came the 89th minute.
What a great scene it was.
It shook up the Dutch team. In the 90+2nd minute Tanković made a distant shot, though it seemed rather as a desperate attempt. A minute later one of their players were fighting with our defenders on the left. Then he passed the ball diagonally to Henriksen on the right. The Norwegian midfielder shot, and scored. 3:2
I would very much like to put here a video with all the goals, but UEFA and its elephant-sized ass made them all unavailable, referring to copyright issues. UEFA should dance polka in a barrel of slugs... here are the Grave Diggers and some match atmosphere.
Venue: Partizan Stadion, Belgrade
Number of spectators: 12 000
Referee: Daniele Orsato (assistants: Lorenzo Manganelli, Riccardo di Fiore - 4th assistant: Alessandro Giallatini - goal line assistants: Paolo Valeri, Andrea Gervasoni) - ITA
FK Partizan: Ž. Živković - Vulićević, Balažic, Fabricio, Leković - Babović, Jevtović, Brašanac - A. Živković (Ninković, 90.), Šaponjić (Bojinov, 66.), Aboubakar (S. Ilić, 83.)
Head coach: Zoran Milinković
AZ Alkmaar: Rochet - Johansson, Gouweleeuw, van der Linden, Brežančić - van Overeem (dos Santos, 63.), Rienstra - Hupperts, Henriksen, Haye (Tanković, 73.) - Janssen (Muhren, 73.)
Head coach: John van den Brom
Goal scorers: Aboubakar (11., 39.), van der Linden (33.), A. Živković (89.), Henriksen (90+3.)
Yellow card: Brežančić (23.), Balažic (33.), Hupperts (42.), Šaponjić (66.), Leković (87.)
Red card: Hupperts (77.), second yellow card
Current standing of Group L:
1. Athletic Bilbao 3 points
2. Partizan 3 points
3. Az Alkmaar 0 point
4. Augsburg 0 point