Emphatic Valencia progress
Rami, Alba and Hernandez goals see Valencia make semis
Last Updated: 05/04/12 10:55pm
Adil Rami: Notched brace as Valencia overturned a first-leg deficit to make semis
An Adil Rami brace and goals from Jordi Alba and Pablo Hernandez saw Valencia beat AZ Alkmaar and progress to the UEFA Europa League semi-finals.
Trailing 2-1 from the first-leg in Holland, a quick-fire first-half brace from Rami sent the hosts on their way
Second-half goals from Alba and Hernandez wrapped up the emphatic win for the Primera Liga side, who posted a 5-2 aggregate success.
Valencia did not enter the game in the best of shape having failed to win in four games, but they immediately pressured the AZ back-line with a fourth-minute Alberto Costa shot which flashed just wide.
Roberto Soldado saw his 12th-minute effort parried by AZ goalkeeper Esteban Alvarado, but three minutes later Frenchman Rami grabbed his side's opener when he finished off a Sofiane Feghouli cross from the right.
Then on 17 minutes, Valencia grabbed the aggregate lead with another clinical close-range finish from Rami after Soldado had headed down a cross from the left from Costa.
Soldado shot wide two minutes later but AZ reminded their hosts of their danger in the 24th minute when Adam Maher came agonisingly close with a 25-yard effort which was tipped over by Valencia goalkeeper Diego Alves.
Soldado and Mehmet Topal both fired wide as the home side resumed control, and the Dutchmen had to wait until five minutes before half-time for another chance, with Brett Holman firing over the bar from long-range.
Alvarado got down brilliantly to deny Soldado in the 42nd minute and Soldado came close yet again seven minutes into the second-half when his header from six yards was blocked by Niklas Moisander.
The third goal duly arrived in the 56th minute when Alba swept home from six yards after being played in by Soldado, extending the aggregate lead of Unai Emery's side to 4-2.
Maarten Martens forced a save out of Alves in the 70th minute but AZ could muster little in response before Valencia grabbed their fourth in the 80th minute, Hernandez blasting high into the top corner from a cross by Alba.
Europa League Group A
Europa League Group B
Europa League Group C
|1||Red Bull Salzburg||6||18|
Europa League Group D
Europa League Group E
Europa League Group F
|2||Maccabi Tel Aviv||6||11|
Europa League Group G
Europa League Group H
Europa League Group I
|3||Vitoria de Guimaraes||6||5|
Europa League Group J
Europa League Group K
|3||Sheriff Tiraspol (Mol)||6||6|
Europa League Group L
|3||Maccabi Haifa (Isr)||6||5|