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Altidore sets AZ on road to Malmö victory

AZ Alkmaar 4-1 Malmö FF
Jozy Altidore's 30-metre strike set the Dutch side on their way to an excellent opening-day victory in UEFA Europa League Group G

Jozy Altidore celebrates his opening goal for AZ
Jozy Altidore celebrates his opening goal for AZ ©Getty Images

AZ Alkmaar got their UEFA Europa League Group G campaign off to a great start, firing four goals past Malmö FF to maintain their excellent European home record.

United States striker Jozy Altidore found the target with a tremendous long-range strike 21 minutes in, and Rasmus Elm converted a penalty against his compatriots to make it 2-0 before Adam Maher's effort beat Johan Dahlin before the break. Brett Holman's great run and finish made it 4-0, with Daniel Larsson's reply from the spot little consolaton for Malmö.

It had been an even affair until Altidore chested down a clearance and unleashed a ferocious right-footed drive into the top corner from 30 metres. AZ dominated thereafter, with Elm side-footing into the top right corner from the spot after Ricardinho felled Roy Beerens. The game was effectively over before half-time, Maher controlling a headed clearance on his chest before shooting into the roof of the net on 39 minutes.

The pattern of AZ dominance continued after the break as Australian winger Holman capped off a great solo run from the left with a calm finish into the far corner four minutes after the restart.

Malmö striker Larsson was brought down by substitute Etienne Reijnen in the area and converted the penalty himself on 72 minutes, but it was too late to prevent an AZ victory. The Kaaskoppen have lost just twice in 44 UEFA home games; neither FK Austria Wien or FC Metalist Kharkiv will be relishing their Group G trip to the AZ Stadion.

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