AZ Alkmaar and Tim Krul looked odds-on favourites to win their Europa League play-off.
Sunday saw the second leg of the final play-off as Utrecht hosted AZ, with the visitors three goals up from the first match.
However, goals in the 12th, 28th and 82nd minutes ended up with the winner being decided on penalties.
Tim Krul actually saved a penalty in the final seconds of normal time but the AZ supporters were still not impressed with the keeper on loan from Newcastle. Krul clearly at fault for the second goal when he couldn’t hold a weak shot, then the crucial third goal in the 82nd minute also saw a poor effort from the Dutch international.
The penalty shootout was won by Utrecht 4-3, with the home keeper saving two and one of Utrecht’s five penalties going high over the bar. Justice was served really as Utrecht had finished 13 points ahead of AZ in the normal league season.
The Dutch media and AZ fans have given Tim Krul a fair amount of stick when he arrived on a loan agreement where he had been guaranteed first team football, the NUFC keeper having not even made the bench when at Ajax in the first six months of the season.
One of the stars of Newcastle’s fifth place finish in the 2011/12 season, along with the likes of Cisse, Coloccini, Cabaye, Tiote and others, he has never matched that consistent quality he showed in that season.
With one year left on his contract at Newcastle, it looks as though he will almost certainly be sold and allowed to try and rebuild his career elsewhere.
This season out on loan in the weak Dutch league was his opportunity to prove to Rafa Benitez that he was both back to full fitness and top form.
With only four clean sheets in 22 matches for AZ Alkmaar and a hefty 43 goals conceded, there has been nothing to suggest that Tim Krul will be the answer in the Premier League next season.
With the likes of Darlow and Elliot looking at least as good as Krul, there is surely no space in next season’s squad at St James Park, plus Rafa Benitez could do with as much as possible added to his transfer budget, plus getting one of the club’s top earners off the books.
A bit of a sad low-key end to his time at Newcastle but no room for sentiment if Rafa Beitez is to take this football club on the next step of its recovery.
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