AMSTERDAM – Aron Jóhannsson notched a goal and an assist in a losing cause on Saturday, as AZ Alkmaar kicked off the new Eredivisie season with a 4-2 defeat at Heerenveen.
Five minutes out of intermission, the prospective US forward provided the clever combo touch in a give-and-go for rampaging right back Mattias Johansson to temporarily level the match at 1-all. With his side up a man and down two goals late, Jóhannsson buried a spot kick off the post to set up an exciting finish that never came.
It was opening day in England's Championship, where Eric Lichaj started his Nottingham Forest tenure in a 1-0 home win against Huddersfield Town. In addition to being strong in defense, the right back nearly found the net with a wicked shot-cum-cross just past the half hour.
The news was not so nice for Zak Whitbread, who was forced off early in Leicester City's 2-1 triumph at Middlesbrough. The defender suffered a knock of heads on an 18th minute corner kick in the Boro end.
New arrival Danny Williams made his Reading debut off the bench in a 2-1 victory over visiting Ipswich Town. The US international stepped on in the 67th minute, shortly before Danny Guthrie fired the winner.
Meanwhile, Bolton defender Tim Ream went unused in Bolton's 1-1 derby draw at Burnley.
Turning focus to Germany's DfB-Pokal, Alfredo Morales returned from suspension to help Ingolstadt reach the second round with a 4-1 win at fifth-division Sportfreunde Baumberg.
Andrew Wooten worked an hour on the right wing as Kaiserslautern advanced thanks to a 7-0 walk away to amateur mites Neckarsulmer Sport-Union.