The Valencia attacker was in lethal form with a hat-trick as los Che sensationally overcame Basel's 3-0 first-leg lead to win 5-0 after extra-time at the MestallaPrior to Thursday night no team had ever come back from three goals down to win a knockout tie since the advent of the Europa League.
But, thanks to the extraordinary intervention of Paco Alcacer, Valencia managed to do just that against Basel in the second leg of their quarter-final at the Mestalla on Thursday night.
|PACO'S KEY MATCH STATS|
Valencia won 5-0 after extra-time to overturn Basel's seemingly-insumountable 3-0 first-leg lead, with Spain under-21 international Paco leading the charge.
The 20-year-old netted the first hat-trick of his career to help Juan Antonio Pizzi's side into the draw for the semi-finals.
Paco set Valencia on their way with a calm finish just before half-time. Edu Vargas made it two not long after, before Paco struck the woodwork. He was not to be denied 20 minutes from time however, as he struck again to force extra-time with a devastating effort.
Not content with forcing the game into extra-time, Paco was the man to break nine-man Basel's resistance in extra-time with only seven minutes to go.
Juan Bernat rounded off a fantastic night for Valencia but there is no doubt who the star of the show was. Paco delivered the stand-out performance in this season's Europa League.
Valencia may be struggling financially but with the youngster in their ranks, they will have a fighting chance of achieving glory in this season's competition.
"This was my best night as a professional player and I hope to have more like this," Paco told Uefa afterwards. "I have to thank my team-mates because without them I wouldn't have scored these goals. The match ball will be signed by all my colleagues and I will put it on a shelf in my house."
Pizzi will now fear his emerging star will follow in the footsteps David Villa, David Silva, Juan Mata and Roberto Soldado before him in leaving the club for big money this summer.