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Aston Villa vs Olympiacos LIVE: Europa Conference League result and reaction after El Kaabi hat-trick in semi-final first leg

A first European semi-final since 1982 for the Villa Park club under Unai Emery

Karl Matchett
Thursday 02 May 2024 22:30 BST
Aston Villa train for UECL semi-final against Olympiacos

Aston Villa mounted a comeback either side of half-time but ultimately were far too open defensively and suffered a 4-2 defeat in the Europa Conference League semi-final first leg against Olympiacos.

Ollie Watkins and Moussa Diaby netted either side of the interval, during which there was a medical emergency involving a fan, after Ayoub El Kaabi had scored twice for the Greek outfit. However, the visiting forward then immediately netted a penalty for his hat-trick and Ezri Konsa deflected in another goal for Olympiacos’ fourth, before Douglas Luiz missed a late penalty to leave Villa a mountain to climb in the second leg.

Olympiacos remain chasing a double, fighting for the title in the Greek top flight, fourth place but only one point off second - and now they have one foot in the final in Europe, too. Follow the action from the first leg below and see the Aston Villa vs Olympiacos predictions and latest odds here.


Unai Emery meets his match as the Spanish conqueror of European football

The problem with assuming a Europa League winner with Sevilla is bound to conquer the continent is that there is more than one of them. Unai Emery can seem the king of Europe, but a defending champion has one foot in the Europa Conference League final. Rather than Emery’s fifth European trophy, it could be Jose Luis Mendilibar’s second in as many years after, courtesy of Ayoub El Kaabi’s hat-trick, Olympiacos stormed Villa Park.

Aston Villa may retain hope of two trips to Athens this month, for the final as well as the semi-final second leg, but they came Acropolis in Birmingham.

After penalties brought them to this stage, they could rue two more: the one Douglas Luiz conceded and the one he missed.

Villa’s first European semi-final for 42 years was a classic, but one they could regret, their defensive frailties allied with different types of misfortune for Olympiacos’ third and fourth goals. A historic occasion may lead to a landmark outcome if Olympiacos become the first Greek club to win a European trophy.

A night when Villa mustered one comeback, with Moussa Diaby creating one goal and scoring another either side of half-time, leaves them needing another.

Richard Jolly at Villa Park:

Unai Emery meets his match as the Spanish conqueror of European football

Aston Villa 2-4 Olympiacos: A late missed penalty by Douglas Luiz could prove costly after Ayoub El Kaabi hit a hat-trick

Karl Matchett2 May 2024 22:30

Medical emergency halts restart of Aston Villa’s Europa Conference League semi-final against Olympiacos

The start of the second half in the Europa Conference League semi-final between Aston Villa and Olympiacos was delayed on Thursday night after one supporter suffered a cardiac arrest.

Broadcaster TNT Sports confirmed during the half-time interval that kick-off for the second 45 minutes was to be delayed a short time, as medical teams attended the individual, believed to be an Aston Villa fan.

The additional stoppage was only a brief one, with the incident seemingly starting just before or shortly into the half-time break, with a stadium announcement therefore able to quickly ask other supporters to clear an area in the lower tier of the Villa Park stand to allow emergency services access.

Medical emergency halts restart of Aston Villa’s Europa Conference League semi-final

A fan was attended in the stands after suffering a cardiac arrest

Karl Matchett2 May 2024 22:23

FT - Aston Villa 2-4 Olympiacos

The fourth goal was a deflection, but the Villa keeper still should have saved it.

“Olsen will be disappointed but it’s not just a goalkeeper situation. The all-round performance defensively as a team has to be better because they’ve conceded too many,” former right-back Alan Hutton adds.

Karl Matchett2 May 2024 22:19

FT - Aston Villa 2-4 Olympiacos

“El Kaabi’s got great movement and Villa were exposed. If you play a high line you’ve got to get it right and Villa didn’t. Cash played him onside the first one, Lenglet goes to press and doesn’t get there,” Peter Crouch explains on TNT Sports.

Villa’s defensive work was dreadfully disappointing throughout tonight, in truth - four conceded at home is poor, two allowed in the manner they were second half after such a big comeback is arguably worse.

Karl Matchett2 May 2024 22:14

FT - Aston Villa 2-4 Olympiacos

And that’s that, the first leg comes to an end and Villa have been hammered 4-2 on home soil in the first leg of this semi-final.

Watkins and Diaby scored excellent goals for the hosts, but El Kaabi netted a very clinical hat-trick - the last one from the penalty spot - and Hezze saw a shot deflected in too.

A late missed penalty from Luiz leaves Villa with a mountain to climb in Greece next week.

Karl Matchett2 May 2024 22:02

90+3’ - Aston Villa 2-4 Olympiacos

Watkins tries to fashion himself a chance in the box as time ticks away. Initially it’s good feet and he finds a bit of space, but one touch is just overcooked and the ball rolls frustratingly out of play.

That’s just about that - a missed penalty may prove costly, but Villa went from 2-2 to behind again far too quickly, they needed to hold control after mounting that comeback.

Karl Matchett2 May 2024 22:01

89’ - Aston Villa 2-4 Olympiacos

Into the last minute of the 90 now. We’ll have five minutes of added time.

Watkins runs towards the penalty box and is pretty clearly barged over - the referee simply waves him away to says get up.

Duran attempts a bicycle kick from the edge of the box which almost goes out for a throw-in.

Fiorentina have scored a late third to lead 3-2 at home to Club Brugge.

Karl Matchett2 May 2024 21:56

86’ - Aston Villa 2-4 Olympiacos

McGinn tries his luck on the run but it’s saved by the keeper. Olympiacos know they are very close to a massive result here.

Villa Park sounds extremely deflated on the back of that miss from 12 yards by Luiz. He’s scored so many this term for them - what a time to miss the target.

Karl Matchett2 May 2024 21:53

MISSED! 82’ - Aston Villa 2-4 Olympiacos

What a big moment...and Douglas Luiz cannot do the business!

The Brazilian waits for the referee, waits for his moment...a yellow card is shown to one player who is trying to put Luiz off as he lines up the spot kick.

Then he steps up finally...and places it wide off the post!

Karl Matchett2 May 2024 21:49

PENALTY! 80’ - Aston Villa 2-4 Olympiacos

Fierce drive from Fortounis, parried awkwardly by Olsen but he gets away with it.

Straight up the other end, Duran wants penalty for handball, doesn’t get it, goes again and is tripped by the defender - this one is a penalty! Dive says Carmo, no way says the ref!

Karl Matchett2 May 2024 21:47

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