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Lille vs Aston Villa. UEFA Europa Conference League Quarter-finals.

Stade Pierre-MauroyAttendance47,093.

Lille 2

  • Y Yazici (15th minute)
  • B André (67th minute)

Aston Villa 1

  • M Cash (87th minute)


Aston Villa win 4-3 on penalties.

Lille 2-1 Aston Villa (Agg: 3-3; Villa win 4-3 on pens): Emi Martinez at centre of spot-kick drama as Villa reach Europa Conference League semis

Match report as Yusuf Yazici and Benjamin Andre goals put Lille ahead in the tie; Matty Cash's late goal in the second half forced extra-time; there was confusion as Emi Martinez thought he had been sent off during the shoot-out; the goalkeeper saved two penalties to see Villa through

Emi Martinez, Aston Villa
Image: Emi Martinez was involved in a dramatic penalty shoot-out as Aston Villa beat Lille in the Europa Conference League

Emi Martinez was Aston Villa's penalty shoot-out villain turned hero as they reached the Europa Conference League semi-finals.

Villa beat Lille 4-3 on penalties after rescuing a 3-3 draw on aggregate - but that does not tell the full story.

Matty Cash's late goal (87) forced an extra 30 minutes after Yusuf Yasici (15) and Benjamin Andre (67) had seen Lille come from a 2-1 deficit from the first leg to lead the tie 3-2.

But nothing could separate the sides after 210 minutes and two legs, needing penalties to decide the quarter-final. A shoot-out that was marred in confusion.

Goalkeeper Martinez - who saved two spot kicks to send Aston Villa through - had already been booked in the first half for time wasting, and was shown another yellow card during the shoot-out.

Martinez later clarified what he was doing to warrant another yellow from the referee, telling TNT Sport: "In the shoot-out, there was no ball on the penalty spot and I was asking for a ball from the ball boy... and then I get booked.

"I just don't understand the rules. I know my team-mates need me and I own my box. I just used all my experience."

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It left many wondering why the accumulation of two yellows did not result in a red. However, IFAB rules state that no yellow cards from the game carry over into shoot-outs, and therefore Martinez was not sent off.

He continued to take part in the penalty shootout, saving the final spot kick from Andre and seeing Aston Villa into their first European semi-final since 1982.

Who will Aston Villa play in the semi-finals?

Aston Villa will play Olympiakos in the semi-finals.

Olympiacos also needed penalties to beat Fenerbahce, winning 3-2. Their quarter-final had also ended in a 3-3 aggregate draw.

The semi-finals will start on Thursday May 2 with the second legs on Thursday May 9.

The final is on May 29 at the AEK Arena in Athens, Greece.

Penalty shoot-out drama in pictures

Emi Martinez, Aston Villa
Image: Emi Martinez was involved in a dramatic penalty shoot-out as Aston Villa beat Lille in the Europa Conference League
Emi Martinez, Aston Villa
Lille vs Aston Villa
Emi Martinez, Aston Villa
Emi Martinez celebrates Aston Villa's ECL victory over Lille
Europa Conference League 2023/24 Quarter-final second leg match between Lille OSC and Aston Villa at Stade Pierre-Mauroy on April 18, 2024 in Lille, France.(Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images) (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

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Lee Hendrie was left bemused as Emi Martinez was shown a second yellow card during Aston Villa’s penalty shoot-out with Lille but was not sent off. The Argentine then secured Villa’s progression by saving the hosts’ final penalty

How Aston Villa edged past Lille

Lille capitalised on their good start inside the quarter of an hour. It was a great cutback from Gabriel Gudmundsson that found Yazici, and it was a wonderful, first-time finish from the midfielder that levelled the tie for the hosts.

Lille could have added another immediately after the break as Aston Villa struggled in northern France. A sloppy Youri Tielemans pass allowed Hakon Arnar Haraldsson through. However, he lashed his shot wide.

Team news headlines

  • Aston Villa made two changes from their 2-0 win at Arsenal. Matty Cash and Douglas Luiz came in for Diego Carlos and Morgan Rogers, who both started on the bench.
  • There were also three changes from last Thursday. Again, Carlos and Rogers dropped to the bench with Leon Bailey also among the subs. Cash, Nicolo Zaniolo and Moussa Diaby came into the XI from that first leg.
  • Lille made one change from the first leg. Yusuf Yazici came into the XI for Edon Zhegrova, who missed out through injury.

Aston Villa's first shot of the game came in the 56th minute. It was some neat play between Moussa Diaby and John McGinn, with the Villa captain finding Cash with a backheeled pass. However, the defender could only find the side of the net.

Lille deserved a second goal and it came again from a corner - just as their reply did in the first leg. It was great movement from Andre, who found a pocket of space before jumping to nod home Haraldsson's corner.

Shortly after having Aston Villa's first shot on target in the 82nd minute, Cash dragged Villa back into the game. Lille were unhappy with the goal and wanted a free kick, but there was no case to answer after Chevalier and Nabil Bentaleb collided. It allowed a loose ball to land at Cash's feet and he rifled home.

Aston Villa's Matty Cash, right, celebrates with his teammate Aston Villa's Ezri Konsa after scoring against Lille during the Europa Conference League quarter final second leg soccer match between Lille and Aston Villa at the Pierre Mauroy stadium in Villeneuve d'Ascq, northern France, Thursday, April 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Image: Aston Villa's Matty Cash scored a late goal to level the tie

It levelled the tie at 3-3 and forced extra time, and Villa had the best chance of the half an hour. Chevalier was forced into a double save, initially to keep out Bailey's shot and then Luiz's diving header with the rebound.

Then came the penalty shootout. Amid the drama of Martinez's 'is he or is he not sent off' incident, Aston Villa scored all-but-one of their five spot kicks, with Chevalier saving Leon Bailey's effort.

But it was the two match-winning saves from Martinez that saw Aston Villa through.

Player ratings

Lille: Chevalier (7), Santos (8), Diakite (7), Yoro (7), Ismaily (7), Andre (7), Bentaleb (7), Yazici (7), Haraldsson (7), Gudmundsson (7), David (6).

Subs used: Gomes (7), Cabella (7), Cavaleiro (6).

Aston Villa: Martinez (7), Konsa (8), Cash (7), Torres (8), Digne (6), Tielemans (6), Luiz (6), Diaby (6), McGinn (6), Zaniolo (6), Watkins (6).

Subs used: Rogers (6), Bailey (7), Duran (6).

Player of the match: Ezri Konsa.

Martinez: It was my destiny to win here

Aston Villa goalkeeper Emi Martinez told TNT Sports: "It's been a hell of a ride all my career. I'm always a believer and a hard worker. It was my destiny to win here again.

"I've just got a bad reputation for time-wasting because the other goalkeeper was doing exactly the same thing... I get booked after 30 minutes and we're losing the game so I don't know what the referee wanted for me.

"This group of player and the manager are special. The owners as well are involved and behind us. It feels like we're going to do something special.

"I don't know if it's going to be the Champions League or the Europa Conference League, but we're going to try to do something special for this football club."

Emery: Win important for the supporters

Aston Villa manager Unai Emery told the club's official website: "I'm very proud of our work and very happy.

"Playing quarter-finals in Europe is always very difficult... we had an advantage from the first leg and I knew that it was not enough, but it was important to get an advantage from home.

"Today, we struggled in the first half and we didn't play like we are more or less playing. In the second half, we were getting better and then when they scored the second goal, it was a difficult moment.

"We were always trying to keep balance and have our gameplan in our minds... here at home they were feeling strong.

"At the end, we won and I'm very happy for our supporters because we're going to play in the semi-finals. It's important for the supporters and for us as professionals.

"Now we will enjoy the moment and prepare as best as possible for the semi-finals... we will be demanding because with this step the next objective is to beat our semi-final opponent.

"We will try to get the possibility to enjoy a final, but now we will try to share our moment on Sunday in the Premier League."

Another famous night for Emery in Europe

Sky Sports' Ben Grounds:

"Incredible scenes in Northern France. Lille extended their imperious home record but depart vanquished by Villa. Against the odds, Unai Emery's side book their place in the Europa Conference League semi-finals.

"Make no mistake, this was a sub-par performance from the tournament favourites at the Stade Pierre Mauroy.

"They were not deserving of victory, though, as they were outplayed for the majority of the second leg in France, with goals from Yusuf Yazici and Andre overturning a 2-1 first leg advantage.

"Lille looked to have done enough, but Matty Cash took the contest to extra time before Emi Martínez provided the heroics in the shoot-out.

"It was heartbreak for Lille who were magnificent, but it's Villa's night. Emery knows there is still a long way to go in this tournament, but a first European semi-final since the 1981/82 season awaits - and we all know how that ended.

"Ezri Konsa was magnificent up against Lille dangerman Jonathan David while the substitutes Leon Bailey and Jhon Duran had a big impact off the bench. Emery will be concerned at the manner of how his side defended set pieces all evening, but all that can wait for another day.

"The Spaniard, so prolific in the Europa League with Sevilla and Villarreal will be eyeing another European trophy."

What's next for Aston Villa?

Aston Villa return to Premier League action on Sunday as they host Bournemouth in a 3pm kick-off, with Unai Emery's fourth-placed side looking to strengthen their Champions League qualification hopes.

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