Villa cruise to Conference League win at AZ Alkmaar


John McGinn of Aston Villa FC celebrates after scoring his teams fourth goal, Ollie Watkins of Aston Villa FC, Youri Tielemans of Aston Villa FC during the Group E - UEFA Europa Conference League 2023/24 match between AZ Alkmaar and Aston Villa FC at AFAS Stadion on October 26, 2023 in Alkmaar, Netherlands. 

Aston Villa climbed to the top of Group E in the Europa Conference League after a classy victory against Dutch side AZ Alkmaar at AFAS Stadion.

Leon Bailey and Youri Tielemans got Villa off to the perfect start with a goal apiece in the space of 10 first-half minutes.

Alkmaar spurned several good opportunities before the break, included a guilt-edged chance for top scorer Vangelis Pavlidis when he was clear through on goal.

Ollie Watkins then further strengthened the visitors' grip on the game early in the second period, reacting quickest to turn home after Bailey's shot had been saved.

Captain John McGinn grabbed Villa's fourth when he showed desire to get ahead of his man and poke in at the near post, ensuring it would be a memorable night for Unai Emery's side.

Alkmaar winger Ibrahim Sadiq pulled one back shortly after the hour mark with a pinpoint shot from distance into the bottom corner

Villa top of Group E after three games in the competition, but Zrinjski Mostar and Legia Warsaw, who meet later, both sit just three points behind.

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