Valencia's little slump continues as they were dispatched 2-1 at the AFAS Stadion by AZ Alkmaar in the first leg of their Europa League quarterfinal. Although Alkmaar have a phenomenal home record and Valencia are somewhat short of form at the moment, the teams ended up matched up fairly well, and things could easily have gone the other way.
Nothing about the first half gave us any indication as to the eventually winner until Brett Holman broke the deadlock in stoppage time. Both sides were playing reasonably good football, and it was probably Valencia who had the better of the chances before Holman struck with a sweet right-footed finish from the far post following a Maarten Martens free kick.
The visitors were stung into action, and Mehmet Topal grabbed a vital away goal with a head just five minutes after the restart. The second half was a little bit tighter than the first -- AZ realised that they couldn't afford to concede another away goal and Valencia were fairly happy with what they had -- so it wouldn't have been a major surprise if the match ended at 1-1. Fortunately for the hosts, Martens was able to score 10 minutes from time, giving them a slender lead to take to the Mestalla. If they can avoid defeat in Spain, Alkmaar are through to the semifinals.