By FRANCO PANIZO
Jozy Altidore and AZ Alkmaar's sucessful run in the Europa League continued on Thursday, as they defeated Spanish side Valencia in the first leg of their quarterfinals clash.
AZ played to a 2-1 home win over Valencia on goals from Brett Holman and Maarten Martens. Holman scored in first-half stoppage time, but it was Martens who scored the winner in the 79th minute after Mehmet Topal had pulled Valencia level early into the second half.
Altidore started and put forth a solid shift in his 76 minutes on the field before making way for Charlison Benschop.
The return leg will take place in Spain on April 5.
Here are the rest of the results from Thursday's quarterfinals first legs:
SCHALKE SURRENDER THREE UNANSWERED GOALS TO LOSE TO ATLETICO BILBAO
Jermaine Jones started and went 90 minutes for Schalke 04, but he could not help prevent Atletico Bilbao from winning after they scored three unanswered goals in the latter parts of the second half in a 4-2 victory in Germany.
Raul put Schalke ahead twice in the match, but both goals were negated by finishes from Fernando Llorente. The second of Llorente's goals came in the 73rd minute, and that sparked Atletico as the visitors finished the first leg with a two-goal cushion after strikes from Oscar de Marcos and Iker Muniain in the 81st and 90th minutes, respectively.
HANNOVER DROP DECISION TO ATLETICO MADRID
Just as Hannover 96 looked ready to leave Spain with a big draw, Atletico Madrid claimed a 2-1 win through an 89th-minute goal from Eduardo Salvio. The dramatic, late goal gave Atletico the lead again after Mame Biram Diouf had earlier scored to cancel out Radamel Falcao's opener. U.S. international Steve Cherundolo went the distance in the match for Hannover.
SPORTING CP DEFEATS FC METALIST KHARKIV
Sporting CP got one step closer to reaching the semifinals after beating FC Metalist Kharkiv, 2-1, at home. Playing without the injured Oguchi Onyewu, Sporting CP jumped out to a 2-0 lead through second-half goals by Marat Izmailov and Emiliano Insua. Ribeiro Cleiton Xavier pulled one back for the visitors off a penalty kick in stoppage time.
What do you think of Altidore's performance in AZ"s win? Expecting Jones and Schalke to bounce back? Think Hannover can turn it around versus Atletico?
Share your thoughts below.