AMSTERDAM – Aron Jóhannsson returned from three games on the injury shelf for sub duty as AZ Alkmaar opened the Eredivisie's Europa League playoff final with a 0-0 home stalemate against Groningen.
In a match short on scoring chances, the World Cup hopeful managed one good look at goal during his 27 minutes of play, only to nod straight into the away netminder's gloves. On the plus side, Jóhannsson showed no signs of what had been a nagging ankle complaint.
The teams will reunite in Groningen on Sunday to decide the tie, with the winner earning a ticket to the Europa League second qualifying round. Johannsson will then report to US national team camp in Northern California.