Paqu Fones had made it plain ahead of the game that his Lille OSC side would need to play a “perfect” game to beat Aston Villa Les Dogues could hardly have drawn a worse opponent in their maiden European quarter-final than the Premier League

Villa are overwhelming favourites win the Europa Conference League and their early surge forward made it simple to understand why Ollie Watkins landed a flurry of blows after the two squads had been eyeing each other up for ten minutes

The ex-Brentford striker scored with a header due to sloppy defending by the visitors. No one marked the host’s leading scorer  Watkins posed a threat with each assault and his placement and timing appeared to put Leny Yoro and Bafodé Diakité under continual strain

Lille came close to a leveller after weathering the rain and breaking fast from an Aston Villa corner Lucas Chevalier quickly launched an attack resulting in Edon Zhegrova facing Emiliano Martínez one-on-one However the World Cup winner was too skilled and buried the shot

Martínez was once again called into action as Diakité made a marauding run from the center of defense and broke past the Villa backline, but the goalkeeper was too good and the shot was from one of the few individuals on the team who Lille would have preferred not to be in that situation

Villa were sloppy in midfield and appeared to be missing the presence of Boubacar Kamara (ruled out for the remainder of

has dominated

Villa did not have to wait long before another set piece split the Lille defenders; a well-worked ball found John McGinn on the edge of the box and the Scottish international’s shot was blasted low and beyond Chevalier who was rooted to the spot

Fonseca made his first change of the night, replacing Zhegrova with Yusuf Yazıcı The substitution increased Gabriel Gudmundsson’ involvement in the game, as Yazıcı focused on rapid swaps. Gudmundsson nearly scored his second goal for the club against Olympique de Marseille but it was ruled out due to a narrow offside Martínez then saved his next attempt


By Fafa T

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