AZ Alkmaar 1-4 Aston Villa: Emery's side run riot in Conference League

AZ Alkmaar 1-4 Aston Villa: Unai Emery’s side run riot in Holland as Leon Bailey, Youri Tielemans, Ollie Watkins and John McGinn all score in Europa Conference League rout

  • Aston Villa co-owner Nassef Sawiris watched on as his team put on a show
  • Four different scorers found the net as AZ Alkmaar were made to look ordinary 
  • Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s football podcast ‘It’s All Kicking Off!’ 

Matches in Holland are always extra special for Aston Villa fans and while nothing can top winning the European Cup in Rotterdam in 1982, here was another night for them to cherish in this country.

Against a team flying in their domestic league, Villa were supremely efficient in front of co-owner Nassef Sawiris, and were 4-0 up before an hour had passed thanks to goals from Leon Bailey, Youri Tielemans, Ollie Watkins and John McGinn. It was Tielemans’ first for the club after a shaky start to his Villa career since leaving Leicester in the summer.

Ibrahim Sadiq struck back for AZ Alkmaar midway through the second half but it was not enough to stop Villa moving into a commanding position in Europa Conference League Group E. 

They have six points from two games and home fixtures against AZ and Legia Warsaw to come. Before that, Luton on Sunday a chance to extend their Premier League winning run at Villa Park to 12 games.

Boss Unai Emery was expecting a tough test against AZ, who are second in the Dutch top flight, but the visitors took control early on.

John McGinn capped off a fabulous night in Europe for Aston Villa as they ran out 4-1 winners

Ollie Watkins’ rich vein of form continued as he scored during a rampant second half in Holland

This was an attacking clinic from Unai Emery’s side, who remain a force to be reckoned with

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Bailey was named in the starting XI after scoring as a substitute in the 4-1 win over West Ham and rewarded Emery with another goal here. 


AZ Alkmaar (4-3-3): Ryan 5; Sugawara 5, Bazoer 5, Penetra 5 (Martins Indi 46, 6), Muller Wolfe 5.5; De Wit 5.5 (Mihailovic 87), Clasie 6, Mijnans 5 (Dantas 46, 6.5); Sadiq 6.5 (Odgaard 67, 6), Pavlidis 7, Van Brederode 6 (Van Bommel 67, 6).

Subs not used: Verhulst, Owusu-Oduro, Poku, Goudmijn, Kasius, Goes.

Scorers: Sadiq 65

Booked: Mijnans, Clasie

Manager: Pascal Jansen 5.5

Aston Villa (4-4-2): Martinez 7; Cash 6.5, D Carlos 6, Lenglet 5.5, Digne 6.5; Tielemans 7.5, Kamara 6 (Dendoncker 86), D Luiz 7.5 (Zaniolo 69, 5.5), McGinn 8 (Diaby 81), Watkins 6.5 (Duran 86), Bailey 7.5 (Traore 86).

Subs not used: Olsen, Marschall, Konsa, Torres, Chambers.

Scorers: Bailey 13, Tielemans 23, Watkins 51, McGinn 56

Booked: Lenglet, Bailey

Manager: Unai Emery 7.5

Referee: Sven Jablonski 6

Taking advantage of a lucky bounce on the edge of the box, the Jamaican arrowed a low drive beyond former Brighton and Arsenal goalkeeper Mat Ryan.

Bailey had just been taunted for stumbling on the ball by the home supporters and he ran towards them after hitting the net, hands held to his ears.

AZ forward Vangelis Pavlidis, who has 14 goals this season, squeezed his way past Boubacar Kamara but shot too close to Emiliano Martinez. 

Moments later, Tielemans showed him how to do it with Villa’s second.

McGinn seized on a loose pass from Sven Mijnans and picked out the Belgian, who steadied himself inside the box before steering his shot underneath Ryan.

AZ then missed a glorious chance to halve the deficit when Kamara dawdled just outside his penalty area and when the ball broke to Pavlidis, he somehow missed the target from 12 yards with only Martinez to beat.

Pavlidis’ frustration grew just after the half-hour mark when he turned in Myron van Brederode’s cross only for the winger to be flagged offside.

AZ needed a bright start to the second half and they nearly had it when Pavlidis ran behind the Villa back line and Sadiq was desperately close to turning the cross past Martinez at the near post.

Once again Villa showed how clinical they can be as Watkins – who had had a quiet night – struck the third in the 51st minute. 

Tielemans played a fine pass to send Bailey racing clear and though his effort was saved, the ball fell perfectly for Watkins to tap in number three. 

Leon Bailey (right) set Aston Villa on their way and he cupped his ears to his critics in home end

The Jamaican winger drilled home low inside the area to open the scoring for the English side

Youri Tielemans would go on to double Villa’s lead with his first goal since joining the club

Pavlidis was trying his utmost to give AZ a foothold yet again he was thwarted by Martinez, who pushed away the Greek forward’s fierce angled strike.

Martinez was taking great delight in winding up the home fans by delaying every restart, to howls of anger behind his goal. 

Their fury grew again when McGinn claimed Villa’s fourth by rounding off another slick counter. 

Kamara sent Bailey away on the right and McGinn ran to the near post before guiding in the cross with the outside of his left foot.

AZ finally got themselves on the scoreboard when Sadiq did well to control a diagonal pass from David Moller Wolfe and hammer it across Martinez and into the bottom corner from 18 yards. 

And when Matty Cash and Diego Carlos were caught in possession, Villa needed a crucial block from Tielemans to stop substitute Tiago Dantas scoring a second.

The former Leicester City midfielder steadied himself inside the box before slotting his shot

It was a chastening night for AZ, who grabbed a late consolation, with Watkins (right) starring


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