AZ Alkmaar laboured to a narrow victory over Anderlecht as they failed to take a string of chances to kill off this Europa League tie in the first leg.
Adam Maher's 35th-minute goal was all that separated the two sides, but AZ should have done more with multiple opportunities in front of goal, with their failure to do so not only enticing Anderlecht forward in the final stages of this match but likely giving them plenty of hope heading into the second leg in Belgium.
Brett Holman sent an early shot over for AZ, but there were otherwise few chances in the opening exchanges, and it was not until after the half-hour mark that the hosts took the lead and then began to exert further pressure.
The breakthrough came in the 35th minute when Simon Poulsen crossed from the left for Maher to finish from close range.
Moments later, Holman sent a curling shot wide left and, after Esteban Alvarado had made a routine save from Lucas Biglia's long-range shot for the visitors, Roy Beerens and Holman were both off target with further chances.
AZ took plenty of time to get going in the second half as well, but again enjoyed the upper hand.
Roy Beerens warmed the palms of Anderlecht goalkeeper Silvio Proto in the 57th minute before Holman's shot from the edge of the area was held.
Proto was then able to parry a powerful low effort from Maher as AZ's frustrations in front of goal continued.
Their failure to kill the game off gave Anderlecht hope, and the visitors began to commit further forward in the closing stages.
A foul on Matias Suarez gave them a dangerous free-kick, but Roland Juhasz headed over from Biglia's cross.
Dieudonne Mbokani then whipped a ball in for Guillaume Gillet but Alvarado has punched the ball clear.
The final chance of the night again fell to the hosts, but they failed to capitalise as Proto parried Maarten Martens' shot to safety.