Penalties knock Villarreal out of the Youth League
Penalties knock Villarreal out of the Youth League

The Yellows lose to AZ Alkmaar on penalties, after fighting back from two goals down

Villarreal’s UYL fell apart in the most cruel fashion in the Netherlands to a good AZ Alkmaar side. The Dutch national champions, coming from 3-1 down to equalise and make it 3-3, went on to lose (4-3) on penalties. The Yellows, let their early lead slip, but went from strength to strength throughout the 90 minutes which forced the penalty shoot-out. Álex Jiménez, Jorge Pascual and Bachuri were the goalscorers in the UEFA Youth League knockout play-offs.

AZ Alkmaar started the match trying to keep possession of the ball, in a typically Dutch style, but good pressing and quick transitions by Pere Martí’s side paid off quickly. Álex Jiménez score the first goal capitalising on a counter-attack, finishnig perfectly with a low shot across the home goalkeeper. A few minutes later, Nacho Nicolau saved the Yellows from a draw with an impressive stop, but Van Brederode levelled the tie from the penalty spot. The second goal, came from 12 yards again, once more via Van Brederode. With just 20 minutes gone, there were already three goals on the scoreboard.

Villarreal continued to push forward with nice team moves, and were calmer than in the opening stages, slowly taking control of the match, However, they were unable to get many clear chances, other than a cross-cum-shot from Mangel, and they went into half-time 2-1 down.

In the second half, the first 15 minutes saw a phase of static play and possession for Pere Martí’s side, but the home side kept up a solid defence and conceded little to the ‘Groguet’. At this point, the Moncofa coach brought on Sergio Hinojosa and Dani Clavijo. However, AZ soon scored their third goal of the game, scored by Meerdink, to extend the lead.

But the Yellows Academy would not give up so easily and, shortly after, Jorge Pascual, with a magnificent touch followed by a volley, scored the second ‘Groguet’ goal to close the gap on the scoreline. In the 87th minute, new substitute Bachuri headed home from a corner at the far post to level the score. The match therefore went to penalties and Villarreal again had the chance to seal their place in the last 16 of the top youth continental competition. However, the spot-kicks led to a cruel outcome for the Cantera Grogueta, who will now be bidding their farewell to the Youth League.


AZ Alkmaar: Westerveld; Goes, Dekker, Poku (Mewerdink, m. 70), Twisk, De Jong, Van Brederode, Van Aken, Koster, Schouten y Engel.
Villarreal: Nacho Nicolau; Miguel Ángel Ruiz (Marcos Sánchez, m. 90), David Guerrero, Espigares, Pablo Navarro; T. Geralnik (Bachuri, m. 86), Joan García (Dani Clavijo, m. 66), Rodri Alonso; Pacheco (Hinojosa, m. 66), Jorge Pascual y Álex Jiménez (Joan Torrents, m. 89).
Goals: 0-1. Min. 9: Álex Jiménez. 1-1. Min. 14: Van Brederode (p.) 2-1. Min. 20: Van Brederode. 3-1. Min. 71: Meerdink. 3-2. Min. 76: Jorge Pascual. 3-3. Min. 87: Bachuri.
Referee: Daniel Beckett. Booked: Engel, Van Aken (AZ Alkmaar); David Guerrero, Jorge Pascual (Villarreal).
Matchday information: Match between AZ Alkmaar U19s and Villarreal U19s, corresponding to the UEFA Youth League Play-off Knockout Round, at the AFAS Trainingscomplex. Attendance: 400.