Friday, April 6, 2012
Valencia 4-0 AZ (Agg 5-2): Spanish side puts domestic woes behind it to book semifinal spot in convincing fashion
Los Che move closer to European glory with an impressive victory over the Dutch side, which will be disappointed after winning the first leg in Netherlands.
Valencia booked its place in the semifinals of the Europa League at the expense of AZ after winning 5-2 on aggregate following a 4-0 victory at Mestalla.
Adil Rami brought the hosts level on aggregate after only 15 minutes, with a header from a corner, before he doubled his tally only two minutes later with a volley. Jordi Alba tapped in 10 minutes after halftime to make it three, and Pablo Hernandez curled in with 10 minutes from time.
The game started with a bang, with Los Che providing the early pressure. They knew they needed at least one goal, and were seeking it early on, looking most dangerous from set pieces.
Indeed, it was a corner that led to the first goal. On the quarter-hour mark, Tino Costa passed to Feghouli, who crossed from the right for Rami to emphatically head home, with Esteban Alvarado missing the punch.
Just two minutes later, it was Rami again, and a corner again, that put the hosts two up, and ahead on aggregate. Tino Costa crossed in after another short corner, the ball was flicked on, and Rami was there at the back post to sweep in a volley.
The Dutch side was looking shell-shocked, but it did muster an effort on target. Adam Maher had a speculative first-time shot from distance, with Diego Alves doing well to claw the ball over the bar.
Jonas was looking lively for Los Che, having an effort from range just before the half-hour, his shot going harmlessly wide. Then just before halftime, he slipped Soldado through, but Esteban saved. The ball was whipped back into the box, and Jonas headed just wide of the left-hand post.
AZ came out in the second half knowing a goal would take the tie to extra-time, but the statistics were against i5. AZ has only won one game away from home in the Europa League this season, whereas Valencia has not lost at home in Europe this season.
Truly, the game was going to form as Jordi Alba put the hosts three up on the night. Wave after wave of attack was coming the Dutch side’s way. Dirk Marcellis blocked a shot on the line, Nick Viergever was dispossessed, and Soldado was put through into the box to square to Jordi Alba to poke home on 56 minutes.