Aston Villa secured a resounding 4-1 victory over AZ Alkmaar, ascending to the top of their Europa Conference League group.
The evening began with a burst of energy from both sides, with AZ Alkmaar initially threatening the Villa goal.
However, it was Bailey who opened the scoring, showcasing his brilliance as he swiveled and unleashed a shot from the edge of the box, leaving AZ’s Mat Ryan with no chance.
This early strike came moments after Bailey had narrowly missed a one-on-one opportunity, making his redemption all the sweeter for the Villa faithful.
Youri Tielemans added to Villa’s lead in the first half, thanks to a clever setup by John McGinn. McGinn intercepted a wayward pass in AZ’s territory and unselfishly set up Tielemans, who calmly slotted the ball under Ryan’s legs.
AZ Alkmaar had their chances to respond, with Boubacar Kamara losing possession to Sven Mijnans, gifting Evangelos Pavlidis an opportunity to level the score. Unfortunately for the home team, Pavlidis’s effort sailed high over the crossbar, leaving the clearest opportunity of the half unconverted.
Villa extended their lead shortly after halftime, with Bailey once again making his presence felt.
After a skillful exchange with Ollie Watkins, Bailey’s shot was parried, only for Watkins to capitalise on the rebound and tap in Villa’s third goal.
John McGinn further padded the scoreline just five minutes later, as Boubacar Kamara delivered a pinpoint cross for Bailey, who then set up McGinn for a simple finish at the near post.
Although AZ Alkmaar managed to pull one back with a brilliant strike from Ibrahim Sadiq, Villa maintained their composure and controlled the game without urgency for the remainder of the match.
This impressive 4-1 win marked the second consecutive triumph for Aston Villa, following their victory over West Ham on Sunday.
The result also confirmed Villa’s status as a force to be reckoned with in Group E of the Europa Conference League. In their last five matches, they have found the back of the net an astonishing 16 times, all while maintaining an unbeaten record under the guidance of Unai Emery.
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