Aston Villa 2-1 AZ Alkmaar: Unai Emery's side come from behind to win
Aston Villa 2-1 AZ Alkmaar: Unai Emery’s side come from behind to win and take a big step towards knockout stages with second-half strikes from Diego Carlos and Ollie Watkins
- Vangelis Pavlidis cracked Aston Villa’s high-line to fire AZ Alkmaar ahead
- Diego Carlos equalised with a header and Ollie Watkins sealed the win late on
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Unai Emery celebrated a century of wins in European football after Aston Villa took a giant step towards the knockout stages with victory over AZ Alkmaar.
The result left Villa needing a point from their remaining two games to qualify from their group in the Europa Conference League but also underlined their manager’s outstanding pedigree in continental competition.
Vangelis Pavlidis gave AZ the lead soon after half-time but Diego Carlos equalised and Ollie Watkins claimed the winner nine minutes from the end.
Emery said: ‘When we win games like these we can understand this competition better and our process better. We are trying to build a team to be competitive in every game we play. The reaction after we conceded was fantastic.’
Villa midfielder Youri Tielemans also claimed his side had received an apology from the officials for disallowing Clement Lenglet’s third minute effort after a VAR check, apparently for offside against Leon Bailey.
Ollie Watkins scored his 11th goal of the season to seal victory for Aston Villa on Thursday night
Watkins ran on to a lofted pass from substitute Douglas Luiz and headed beyond Mat Ryan
Tielemans said: ‘We’ve been told it was a mistake from them [to disallow a goal early on] and they apologised. In the end we won so it’s all good.’
AZ also had reason to complain about the officials as Carlos’ goal came from a corner that should have been given as a goal-kick.
Boubacar Kamara scooped over from two yards under pressure from Jordi Clasie and Villa took full advantage when Carlos nodded in the kick.
‘It was not a corner – clearly,’ admitted Emery.
AZ boss Pascal Jansen fumed: ‘We very unfortunate to concede a corner that wasn’t a corner. I contacted the fourth official and asked him what had happened and he said he didn’t know. I thought the VAR could help the referee wherever necessary but obviously he didn’t.’
Diego Carlos equalised just after the hour mark by heading home Leon Bailey’s corner
Vangelis Pavlidis cracked Villa’s high-line to fire AZ Alkmaar ahead in the 52nd minute
Clement Lenglet’s early effort was ruled out by VAR as Bailey had been offside in build up
Aston Villa (4-2-3-1): Martinez 7; Konsa 7 (Cash 74, 6), D Carlos 6 (Torres 90), Lenglet 5, Digne 6; Kamara 7, Tielemans 6 (D Luiz 74, 7); Bailey 6.5 (Traore 90), Diaby 6 (Zaniolo 74, 6), McGinn 6.5; Watkins 7. Subs not used: Olsen, Marschall, Moreno, Chambers, Duran, Dendoncker.
Scorers: D Carlos 61, Watkins 81
Manager: Unai Emery 6.5
AZ Alkmaar (4-3-3): Ryan 6; Sugawara 6.5, Bazoer 7, Martins Indi 7.5, Moller Wolfe 6.5; De Wit 6 (Mihailovic 69, 6), Clasie 7 (Dantas 89), Mijnans 6.5 (Odgaard 89); Sadiq 6.5 (Poku 69, 6), *Pavlidis 7.5*, Van Bommel 6 (Van Brederode 70, 6). Subs not used: Verhulst, Virginio Dean, Penetra, Dekker, Goudmijn, Kasius, Goes.
Scorers: Pavlidis 52
Manager: Pascal Jansen 6.5
Referee: Luis Godinho 6
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