American Exports: Aron Johannsson, AZ Alkmaar shut out as Europa League dream crumbles
AMSTERDAM – Aron Johannsson and AZ Alkmaar failed their final test on Sunday, missing out on a Europa League place with a 3-0 playoff loss at Groningen.
The US forward linked play very well, but never found occasion to shoot despite the visitors dominating possession. The Cheese Farmers slumped across the finish line winning just once in their last 12 across all competitions, a stretch that saw them shut out six times and Johannsson held to a single strike back in early April.
Next door in Belgium, Sacha Kljestan watched from the home dugout as Anderlecht clinched a title three-peat by downing guests Lokeren 3-1. Though he played just 59 minutes during the championship hexagonal, Kljestan joined former Rangers midfielder Maurice Edu as the only Americans the celebrate back-to-back-to-back gold medals for a top-division European club.
It was also closing day for the Danish Superliga, with Conor O'Brien putting in a busy midfield shift as Odense BK finished seventh after a hard-fought 3-2 defeat at runners-up FC Copenhagen.
The No. 14 shirt rang up an impressive nine pass interceptions and nearly gave the visitors a late lead when his shot buzzed the frame on the hour mark.
Babajide Ogunbiyi and Viborg went back down to the second flight on a fairly high note, a 0-0 stalemate at fifth-place Esbjerg. The American saw yellow as the Greens earned just their third shutout in the last 21 games.