VAZquez's performance represents total domination. In every conceivable metric he was outstanding. Not only did he score twice (of his eight shots, of which five were on target, but he spent the entire game on the front foot for a passing side. He touched the ball more than anyone else in the entire round of Europa League fixtures, as well as 10 recoveries, and nearly 50% of his passes were into the final third.
Wow. AZ are a pretty good team. And they are represented more by Myron Boadu and Calvin Stengs (who will appear later) but their central midfield maestro is Teun Koopmeiners who was utterly outstanding in his role. As well as stroking home two penalties he utterly dominated an Astana team who pushed Manchester United to the limit, completing 80 of his 90 passes as well as winning 3/3 tackles and recording nine recoveries.
Qarabag didn't get the result they expected against APOEL at home but Quintana's display deserved the victory. He completed four dribbles, won 13/17 duels as well as creating two clear chances for team-mates and that's before his brilliant smash into the top corner, and his teasing assist for the equaliser sent the crowd wild. He didn't win, but it was a performance to remember.
AZ are the hipster team of the new era. They pass the ball around, recirculate possession and have incredible talents in the form of Boadu, Stengs and Idrissi, with the latter excelling here. A goal and an assist barely scrapes the surface of a leading midfield display, one that saw 66/72 passes completed as as a round-high 47 passes into the final third.
But of all the AZ stock perhaps Stengs is the one that could move to the next level quicker than most. He is a drifter in the Mesut Ozil, style, so comfortable on the ball and confident in his ability that he can create things for his team-mate, and AZ were brutal in their destruction of Astana. He is a genuine talent that will, within time, move to a higher level.
ROUND TO FORGET