Group G round-up
AZ and Metalist set the early pace
Last Updated: September 15, 2011 10:56pm
AZ Alkmaar produced an impressive performance to overcome Malmo, as Metalist Kharkiv began their Europa League Group G campaign with an away win against Austria Vienna.
AZ Alkmaar triumphed 4-1 against Malmo and the damage was done by half-time courtesy of goals from Jozy Altidore, Rasmus Elm and Adam Maher, with Brett Holman putting the icing on the cake with a fourth early in the second half.
Daniel Larsson got Malmo on the scoresheet with a 72nd-minute penalty but it was too little too late to affect the outcome.
The Swedish visitors got off to a decent start but could not find the breakthrough and AZ showed them how it was done in the 21st minute when United States forward Altidore lashed a fierce strike into the top-right corner from 30 yards.
Ricardinho brought down Roy Beerens to hand AZ the opportunity to go two goals to the good. Elm stepped up to blast the spot-kick into the top-right corner.
Any hopes Malmo may have harboured of mounting a comeback were extinguished in the 39th minute when Maher unleashed a right-footed volley high past a helpless Johan Dahlin.
Dahlin was on hand to keep out a Holman shot soon after the restart but was powerless to prevent the same player extending the margin in the 49th minute, the Australia winger slotting into the bottom-right corner from 12 yards.
Wilton Figueiredo sent a couple of shots harmlessly wide as Malmo searched for a consolation goal. It arrived 18 minutes from time when Larsson despatched a penalty into the top-left corner after he had been fouled by Etienne Reijnen.
Metalist Kharkiv battled back from a goal down to post an impressive win on the road at Austria Vienna in the other game in Group G.
Vienna, defending a six-game unbeaten home run in Europe, took the lead through Tomas Jun inside 10 minutes and appeared to be well on course with their opponents offering little threat.
But Metalist came out for the second period with renewed purpose, and after Papa Gueye equalised on 56 minutes it fell to Cleiton Xavier to put away the winner from the penalty spot 11 minutes from full-time.
The hosts took the lead with the first meaningful attack of the match in the seventh minute.
Nacer Barazite's cross proved the undoing of the visitors' backline, allowing Jun to steal in and slam the ball right-footed high into the net.
Vienna continued to press but could not add to their lead before the interval and were made to pay when an improved Metalist roared back to win.
Xavier's outswinging corner should have been dealt with by the home defence, but Gueye was allowed freedom to rise and head the ball down the centre of the goal.
English referee Mike Dean then pointed to the spot in the 79th minute after Pascal Grunwald was adjudged to have fouled Jonathan Cristaldo in the box.
Xavier popped up to cap a decent personal performance with a goal, clipping the ball into the bottom-right corner as Metalist snaffled all three points.