Aston Villa dealt massive injury worry vs Lille with forced Nicolo Zaniolo decision

Aston Villa attacker Nicolo Zaniolo
Nicolo Zaniolo had to be taken off against Lille early on -Credit:Mustafa Yalcin/Anadolu via Getty Images

Aston Villa were dealt a massive injury blow just half an hour into their Conference League quarter-final second-leg clash with Lille. Attacker Nicolo Zaniolo had to be taken off by Unai Emery inside the first half.

The Ligue 1 side had already levelled the tie on aggregate through Yusuf Yazici and were threatening to go ahead when Zaniolo fell awkwardly following a challenge just outside his own area. January signing Morgan Rogers was called upon from the bench to replace him.

It initially looked like Zaniolo would need to be stretchered off as medical staff went onto the field. He eventually hobbled off.

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The Italian landed on his back after being caught in a duel. He had also been booked earlier in the game as Villa attempted to weather a storm by their visitors.

Goalkeeper Emi Martinez was also in some discomfort of his own just minutes earlier. The Argentine was hit in the face by the ball as Lille looked to complete the turnaround. He managed to block a shot from close range, spreading his body to get in the way of a header.

Martinez himself was also booked, this timed for timewasting, after taking too long over a goal-kick. Emery's men were aiming to try and take some of the sting out of the game having failed to assert themselves.