American Exports: Jozy Altidore's brace, assist leads AZ to Dutch Cup final
AMSTERDAM – Jozy Altidore made a date to play for his first career piece of silverware on Wednesday, bagging a brace and an assist while leading AZ Alkmaar to a 3-0 KNVB Cup semifinal victory at Ajax.
The US striker will now be licking his chops for the May 9 final against PSV Eindhoven in Rotterdam after running his tournament-leading strike total to seven. Ajax chose to go with several squad players in the lineup, and it was a decision well-punished by Altidore.
The American broke a scoreless tie on 74 minutes by nodding home a terrific touchline cross from Adam Maher. Two minutes from regulation time, Altidore executed a fine turnaround release pass from inside his own half for Joey Gudmundsson to run free for the second.
Not to be outdone, Altidore then capped the scoring by lobbing stranded Ajax goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen from 35 yards for his 23rd goal across all competitions on the campaign.
As for AZ, they erased the memory of last year's semifinal stumble, earning the right to vie for the fourth KNVB Cup title in club history and first since 1982. Despite having never won an Eredivisie match at Amsterdam Arena, the Cheese Farmers have now emerged victorious from that building in consecutive cup runs.
Over in Belgium, Sacha Kljestan worked a full shift for Anderlecht in their league match against visiting Zulte-Waregem, but the Mauves fell 1-0, allowing the visitors to close the deficit at the top of the table to six points, with the possibility of making it three if they win their game in hand.
Meanwhile, in Austrian Bundesliga action, Terrence Boyd worked all 90 minutes in Rapid Vienna's 1-1 home share with Sturm Graz.
The young forward was robbed by the away netminder on a prime 25th-minute chance to open the scoring and went close to a winner shortly after Arnold Schwarzenegger's favorite club leveled matters at the hour. As it ended, though, Rapid missed out on a chance to pull even with Red Bull Salzburg for the league's second Champions League slot for the second game running.