American Exports: Aron Johannsson nets PK as AZ Alkmaar rally past Ajax
ALKMAAR, The Netherlands – Aron Jóhannsson fired the penalty kick equalizer as AZ Alkmaar rallied to defeat visiting Eredivisie champs Ajax 3-2 on Sunday afternoon.
The striker, who will fly to Bosnia on Monday for his first US national team camp, struggled to make an impact for most of the match. However, after Ricardo van Rhijn's 64th minute area foul earned AZ a spot kick, Jóhannsson made no mistake in sending the keeper the wrong way.
Jóhannsson now has three goals in as many competitive games this term and six in his last seven outings for the Cheese Farmers, dating back to last season. By virtue of their first win of the campaign, AZ climbed six rungs to ninth place.
Next door in Belgium's Jupiler League, Sacha Kljestan bagged the opener in Anderlecht's 4-1 rout of visiting Gent.
On 32 minutes, Dennis Praet knocked down a free kick for the American to open his season account. The win snapped a two-game winless slide at home and lifted the champs up to fourth place.
Across the border in Germany's Bundesliga, Jermaine Jones went the distance in Schalke's see-saw 3-3 share with opening day guests Hamburg. The Miners, now winless in four straight season starters, managed the point thanks to Ádám Szalai's late equalizer.
Over in England's Championship, Zak Whitbread returned to the Leicester City line-up in a 0-0 home draw with Leeds United. The center back cleared his line with a strong header 11 minutes from time as the Foxes remained unbeaten in ninth place through two rounds.
Turning to Denmark's Superliga, Conor O'Brien saw yellow as FC Nordsjælland clawed back late for a 2-2 home draw with rivals FC Copenhagen.
Though he started in defensive midfield, the New York native switched to the flank after the break. Despite the rally, the Wild Tigers stayed winless through four matches this term.
Across the water in Norway's Tippeligaen, Mikkel Diskerud worked a 57-minute shift in Rosenborg's 2-2 rally draw at Strømsgodset. The US midfielder picked up a yellow card, departing before the Troll Kids leveled to maintain their two-point league lead over the home side.
Despite a good showing in goal from Steve Clark, Hønefoss suffered a tough 1-0 loss at FK Haugesund. The American notched five saves, including a show-stopper on Joakim Våge Nilsen near halftime, as his club slipped into the basement.
Finally, in Austria's top flight, Terrence Boyd was removed on the half hour in a tactical move as 10-man Rapid Vienna managed a 0-0 derby draw with Austria Vienna. Still unbeaten through four league matches, the Green-Whites remained in second place.