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Champions Alkmaar rebound from shock setback

  • Story Highlights
  • Dutch champions AZ Alkmaar bounce back from shock opening-day defeat
  • New boss Ronald Koeman has first victory after 2-0 win over Sparta Rotterdam
  • Alkmaar were beaten 3-2 by unfancied Heracles Almelo in Eredivisie opener
  • Star striker Mounir El Hamdaoui sets up first goal and scores the second
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(CNN) -- Dutch champions AZ Alkmaar bounced back from the shock opening-day defeat to Heracles Almelo by beating Sparta Rotterdam 2-0 on Friday night.

Mounir El Hamdaoui showed he will again be a key player for Alkmaar this season after being involved in both goals.

Mounir El Hamdaoui showed he will again be a key player for Alkmaar this season after being involved in both goals.

New manager Ronald Koeman suffered the worst possible start to his tenure with last weekend's 3-2 reverse to a club who finished 15th in the league last season.

Hopes had been high after the legendary former Netherlands and Barcelona defender oversaw a 5-1 crushing of Heerenveen in the preseason Dutch Super Cup in his first competitive match in charge after taking over from Louis Van Gaal.

With Van Gaal departing to German giants Bayern Munich, the pressure is on Koeman to keep unfashionable Alkmaar on top, with traditional Dutch heavyweights Ajax, Feyenoord and PSV Eindhoven seeking to return to the top-two placings.

The home fans' early worries were assuaged in the sixth minute when Moussa Dembele scored the opening goal from 10 yards out after being set up by strike partner Mounir El Hamdaoui.

El Hamdaoui, the Eredivisie's top scorer last season, had earlier tested Sparta keeper Aleksander Seliga when he cut in from the right and fired in a shot which was turned away for a corner.

The Morocco international was off target with AZ's next chance just after the halftime break, but he netted a deserved goal to make it 2-0 in the 64th minute.

The 25-year-old pounced with a fierce low shot after the ball fell to him following Maarten Martens' free-kick.

Sparta, beaten 2-0 at home by last season's runners-up Twente in their opening match, never looked like reducing the deficit.

All About AZ AlkmaarRonald KoemanMounir HamdaouiSparta Rotterdam FCEredivisieNetherlandsEuropean Football

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