A lastminute leveler from the Swedish winger keeps the Tukkers in the title race after a Jozy Altidore double had appeared to seal the points for the hosts.AZ and Twente have played out a 2-2 draw at the AFAS Stadium in Wednesday's Eredivisie encounter.
Jozy Altidore gifted the hosts an early lead, before Luuk de Jong restored parity before the interval. Another Altidore strike then made it 2-1, but Emir Bajrami's late header salvaged a draw for the Tukkers.
The hosts enjoyed the more positive of opening exchanges, and wasted no time converting their superiority to goals. Altidore coolly headed home Maarten Martens’ corner in the third minute to open the scoring.
AZ continued to dominate proceedings, though the Alkmaar side lacked the incisiveness to score from open play. Goalscorer Altidore failed to tee up his onrushing teammates after seeing his initial attempt blocked, before the forward‘s poor effort ended a flowing move.
Twente would punish the hosts for their complacent spell, leveling the scores in the 31st minute. Prolific forward De Jong surprised Esteban with a volley, applying a ruthless finish to a ball that appeared to be bouncing away from the danger area.
The equalizer acted as a catalyst for the visitors, with their wingmen appearing more eager to take on their markers. Ola John looked the visitors’ most threatening outlet, accelerating past right back Dirk Marcellis on more than one occasion. The Dutchman’s deliveries all failed to find a teammate, however, allowing the hosts to clear the ball to safety.
Barring an early offensive surge, the visitors came out of the interval appearing resigned to a draw. AZ retained the majority of offensive possession, though defensive solidity from the Twente denied the Alkmaar side any sight of goal.
It wasn’t until the 70th minute that the hosts registered another attempt on target, but it was all the home side needed to reclaim its lead. Altidore coolly rounded Douglas outside the 18-yard box, before leaving Sander Boschker helpless with a simple finish.
Twente’s response to the goal was initially timid, with a solitary header from De Jong the only noteworthy attempt. Charlison Benschop then spurned the opportunity to put the match to bed at the other end, with the winger’s scuffed shot failing to trouble Boschker.
The hosts would be made to dread their earlier inefficiency, with Bajrami netting a precious equalizer minutes from time. The Dutchman was free to head home after being left unmarked on a cross from Nacer Chadli, salvaging a crucial point for the hosts.
The draw sees AZ draw level on points with Ajax at the league summit, with the reigning champions set to play later on Wednesday.