Europe's longest-standing unbeaten home record came to an end on Thursday, along with AZ Alkmaar's UEFA Cup ambitions, after Group A winners Everton FC triumphed 3-2 in the Netherlands.
James Vaughan scored the decisive goal with eleven minutes to play to end a proud AZ run at the DSB-Stadium stretching 21 years and 32 games. Andrew Johnson and Phil Jagielka also scored for Everton, with Graziano Pelle and Kew Jaliens twice drawing the home team level. A point would not have been enough for AZ anyway as 1. FC Nürnberg won at Larissa FC, while Everton, who end the section with a perfect record, are now 13 games without defeat and a team to avoid in Friday's draw.
Having selected only four of the players who started Saturday's win at West Ham United FC, David Moyes would not have envisaged his side making such a tremendous start, as Everton struck with barely a minute played. A quick throw-in on the left found Johnson in the area and the England forward wriggled away from David Mendes da Silva, latched on to the loose ball and dispatched it through the legs of Grétar Steinsson and into the AZ net.
Although Steinsson could do little to keep that effort out, he did play an important support role in the equaliser 14 minutes later. The Iceland defender's pass from just inside the Everton half was beautifully dummied by Simon Cziommer on the edge of the box, fooling Joleon Lescott and freeing Italian Pelle who finished with aplomb. It was the visitors, though, who struck next as Jagielka nodded in his first goal for the club after a goalline Demy de Zeeuw clearance from Lescott's shot looped into the Englishman's path.
Johnson and Steven Pienaar both failed to extend Everton's lead before Jaliens outmuscled Lescott to head in a corner from the left in the 65th minute. The deciding goal went Everton's way, though, as substitute Vaughan scored with the most delicate of touches from Victor Anichebe's diagonal pass. Everton's night was complete when 16-year-old Jack Rodwell became the club's youngest-ever player in Europe, eclipsing a mark set 42 years ago.
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