Aston Villa's run of excellent goal-scoring performances extended as they easily defeated AZ Alkmaar 4-1 on the road to take the top spot in their Europa Conference League group.

Last year, AZ advanced to the semi-finals of this competition, but Unai Emery's clinical team destroyed them, leading 2-0 at the break thanks to goals from Leon Bailey and Youri Tielemans.

Ollie Watkins of Aston Villa FC, Youri Tielemans of Aston Villa FC celebrate the 0-2 during the UEFA Conference League match in group E between AZ Alkmaar and Aston Villa FC at the AFAS stadium on October 26, 2023 in Alkmaar, Netherlands . ANP ED VAN DE POL (Photo by ANP via Getty Images)
Ollie Watkins of Aston Villa FC, Youri Tielemans of Aston Villa FC celebrate the 0-2 during the UEFA Conference League match in group E between AZ Alkmaar and Aston Villa FC at the AFAS stadium on October 26, 2023 in Alkmaar, Netherlands . ANP ED VAN DE POL (Photo by ANP via Getty Images)

Despite being in Europe's third-tier club competition, Villa were a league apart from the second-place team in the Eredivisie, who are still undefeated at home. Finishing strong, they scored four goals from their opening five attempts on goal, teaching Alkmaar a valuable lesson.

After the break, John McGinn's close-range goal and Ollie Watkins' ninth goal of the year glittered onto the score, but Ibrahim Sadiq's incredible long-range shot gave AZ a response.

Story of the game:

The opening opportunity of the game was created by AZ when Evangelos Pavlidis crossed from the left for Dani de Wit, whose header inside the area took a strong deflection from Clement Lenglet and went just wide.

Leon Bailey of Aston Villa FC celebrates the 0-1 during the UEFA Conference League match in group E between AZ Alkmaar and Aston Villa FC at the AFAS stadium on October 26, 2023 in Alkmaar, Netherlands. ANP ED VAN DE POL (Photo by ANP via Getty Images)
Leon Bailey of Aston Villa FC celebrates the 0-1 during the UEFA Conference League match in group E between AZ Alkmaar and Aston Villa FC at the AFAS stadium on October 26, 2023 in Alkmaar, Netherlands. ANP ED VAN DE POL (Photo by ANP via Getty Images)

However, moments after the Villa winger bungled a one-on-one by failing to get a shot off, Bailey turned and struck from the edge of the box, getting past Mat Ryan in the AZ goal to give Villa the lead.

Pavlidis fired directly at Emiliano Martinez as AZ attempted to answer, but it didn't take long for the visitors to get a second.

goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez of Aston Villa looks on during the UEFA Europa Conference League 2023/24 match between AZ Alkmaar and Aston Villa FC on October 26, 2023 in Alkmaar, Netherlands. (Photo by NESimages/Raymond Smit/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)
goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez of Aston Villa looks on during the UEFA Europa Conference League 2023/24 match between AZ Alkmaar and Aston Villa FC on October 26, 2023 in Alkmaar, Netherlands. (Photo by NESimages/Raymond Smit/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

After snagging Sven Mijnans' careless square pass in the AZ half, John McGinn drove goalward and squared for the open Tielemans in the box. After taking a touch, the midfielder from Belgium placed the ball beneath Ryan's legs.

Then, with Villa almost allowing AZ a goal while playing out of the back, AZ had a fantastic opportunity to equalise. On the outside of his box, Boubacar Kamara gave the ball to Mijnans, giving Pavlidis plenty of time to shoot past Martinez.

The most obvious opportunity of the first half went amiss but the AZ striker's attempt was too great.

That goal turned out to be significant since Villa scored a third right after the break. Tielemans released Bailey following some strong Watkins linking play. Watkins had come around to tap in the third after Bailey's attempt was parried.

John McGinn of Aston Villa FC celebrates after scoring the team's fourth goal during the Group E - UEFA Europa Conference League 2023/24 match between AZ Alkmaar and Aston Villa FC at AFAS Stadion on October 26, 2023 in Alkmaar, Netherlands. (Photo by Rene Nijhuis/BSR Agency/Getty Images)
John McGinn of Aston Villa FC celebrates after scoring the team's fourth goal during the Group E - UEFA Europa Conference League 2023/24 match between AZ Alkmaar and Aston Villa FC at AFAS Stadion on October 26, 2023 in Alkmaar, Netherlands. (Photo by Rene Nijhuis/BSR Agency/Getty Images)

Within five minutes, Bailey was freed by Kamara down the right wing, and he crossed the ball for McGinn, who scored at the near post with a deft run t make it four on the night for Villa.

When Bruno Martins Indi, a substitute, delivered a wonderful long ball across the pitch for Sadiq, who chested down the pass and found Martinez's bottom corner from a distance, Villa assumed the game was over and was taken off guard.

Head Coach Unai Emery of Aston Villa FC looks on during the Group E - UEFA Europa Conference League 2023/24 match between AZ Alkmaar and Aston Villa FC at AFAS Stadion on October 26, 2023 in Alkmaar, Netherlands. (Photo by Patrick Goosen/BSR Agency/Getty Images)
Head Coach Unai Emery of Aston Villa FC looks on during the Group E - UEFA Europa Conference League 2023/24 match between AZ Alkmaar and Aston Villa FC at AFAS Stadion on October 26, 2023 in Alkmaar, Netherlands. (Photo by Patrick Goosen/BSR Agency/Getty Images)

Even though the hosts gained confidence from that consolation goal Tiago Dantas came close shortly after Sadiq's goal Villa comfortably and calmly finished off the match.

Leon Bailey of Aston Villa FC battles for the ball with Ruben van Bommel of AZ Alkmaar during the Group E - UEFA Europa Conference League 2023/24 match between AZ Alkmaar and Aston Villa FC at AFAS Stadion on October 26, 2023 in Alkmaar, Netherlands. (Photo by Rene Nijhuis/BSR Agency/Getty Images)
Leon Bailey of Aston Villa FC battles for the ball with Ruben van Bommel of AZ Alkmaar during the Group E - UEFA Europa Conference League 2023/24 match between AZ Alkmaar and Aston Villa FC at AFAS Stadion on October 26, 2023 in Alkmaar, Netherlands. (Photo by Rene Nijhuis/BSR Agency/Getty Images)

Player of the game: Leon Bailey 

Bailey had a superb game this evening, scored a great goal and bagged an assist as well. He was a real threat down the right and was causing AZ problems. A solid nights work from the Jamaican international.

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