Anzhi smash five past Alkmaar to qualify for Europa
Moscow, Aug 31 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala qualified for the group stage of the Europa League for the first time Thursday with an emphatic 5-0 away win over Dutch outfit AZ Alkmaar, prevailing 6-0 on aggregate in their playoff tie.
Mbark Boussoufa put Anzhi ahead on 17 minutes. The Dutch-born winger cut in from the left and skipped around a defender to fire into the far top corner.
Eto'o outdid his teammate in first-half injury time, dribbling past four AZ players before bursting through and blasting into the bottom corner. It was his fifth goal in the competition so far.
On 79 minutes, Lacina Traore collected a high ball, turned a defender and placed the ball into the far corner of the net. It was the Ivorian's strike that gave Anzhi a 1-0 lead from the first leg.
The Dutch capitulated, as demonstrated on 83 minutes by Anzhi's Moroccan midfielder Mehdi Carcela-Gonzalez, who rifled in a fourth from the edge of the area.
Substitute Shamil Lahiyalov chipped in a fifth with the last kick of the match in injury time.
The scoreline flattered the visitors, but that will be of little concern for coach Guus Hiddink, who is under pressure from billionaire owner Suleiman Kerimov to deliver European silverware fast.
Despite the meager opposition, Anzhi's unstoppable charge to the group stage will make them the team to avoid in Friday's draw.
They dispatched Hungarians FC Honved 5-0 on aggregate, then eliminated Vitesse Arnhem 4-0 over two legs.
Thursday's encounter in a rainy Alkmaar started out far more cagey, but Anzhi played with a swagger that belied their inexperience in European competition.
They dealt comfortably with an admittedly toothless AZ attack and allowed their class to shine through at the critical moments.
Earlier Thursday, CSKA Moscow conceded an injury-time goal to AIK of Sweden to crash out of the Europa League 2-1 on aggregate in their playoff round tie.
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