John Townley's Aston Villa player ratings after Emi Martinez heroics book semi-final place

Emi Martinez saved two penalties in the shoot-out
Emi Martinez saved two penalties in the shoot-out -Credit:Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images

Aston Villa will play in a major European semi-final for the first time since 1982 after overcoming Lille in the Europa Conference League quarter-finals, winning 4-3 on penalties.

Emi Martinez, the No. 1 enemy in France, saved two penalties in the shoot-out to book Villa's place in the final four. Unai Emery's side did it the hard way at the Stade Pierre Mauroy as Matty Cash scored an 87th minute goal to take the game to extra time.

Villa were two goals down on the 68th minute after Benjamin Andre doubled Lille's lead after Yusuf Yazici's opener early in the first half. Second best for the majority of the first period, Villa failed to register a single shot. Their best two openings through Matty Cash and Douglas Luiz weren’t actual chances because the referee either pulled the game back for an offside and a foul respectively.

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After Cash slammed the ball through a crowd of bodies to drag Villa level in the tie at 3-3, the game went to extra-time. Douglas Luiz had the best chance of the additional 30 minutes as Lucas Chevalier saved his header from close range.

Villa backed themselves in the shoot-out with penalty saving expert Martinez between the sticks. He saved Lille's first penalty - which was taken after Youri Tielemans put Villa ahead - taken by Nabil Bentaleb.

After Ollie Watkins and Matty Cash converted, Leon Bailey missed, meaning Martinez was called on to guide Villa into the next round. Benjamin Andre stepped up after Douglas Luiz made it 4-3 to Villa, and saw his spot-kick saved.

Player ratings

Emi Martinez

Booed and whistled whenever he was in control of the ball in the first half. Martinez was unconvincing from one corner in the first 10 minutes, before he pounced on the ball to clear the danger. He was struck in the face with the ball after Villa went behind and was struggling from then on in the first half. Booked for time wasting when the tie was level at 2-2 - madness. He was relishing a penalty shoot-out and did what he does best to put Villa in the final four. 10

Matty Cash

Came back into the starting XI after returning from a hamstring injury last weekend. Combined well with McGinn in the box, which was Villa's first real chance of the game in the 55th minute, but Cash's effort slammed the side-netting. He made no mistake with his second opportunity as he slammed the ball into the back of the net after Chevalier dropped the ball in the box. 8

Ezri Konsa

Shuffled across to a more familiar centre-back role after playing at full-back for large parts of this season. 7

Pau Torres

Torres dealt with David's presence and threat well, just like in the first leg at Villa Park. 7

Lucas Digne

Had a difficult task keeping Yazici and Tiago Santos quiet on the wing. Santos in particular was causing problems for Villa - he's a brilliant player. 6

Douglas Luiz

Luiz came back into the XI after missing the victory over Arsenal through suspension. He plays a crucial role in how Villa progress the ball, but Villa struggled against a compact and well organised Lille side. 7

Youri Tielemans

Tielemans sat deep tonight and rarely pushed forward. He had a limited influence on the night Lost the ball in a dangerous position at the start of the second half, but he was let off the hook as Haraldsson fired wide. Put Villa on their way in the shoot-out. 6

John McGinn

McGinn played off the right to help support Cash and back him up down the wing when Lille pushed on. He was taken off in the second half for Jhon Duran as Villa went in search of their goal. 6

Nicolo Zaniolo

The Italian was replaced in the first half after sustaining an injury. He didn't require a stretcher, but hobbled off. N/A

Moussa Diaby

Struggled to involve himself in the game apart from the odd occasion he'd peel wide to receive the ball. Replaced by Bailey as soon as Lille scored their second. 5

Ollie Watkins

Put himself about in the final third, but Watkins didn't get a sniff in front of goal all night. Despatched his penalty well. 6


Morgan Rogers (for Zaniolo, 28'): Rogers tried to play in between the lines, but like the rest of Villa's forward line, he didn't make much of an impact. 6

Leon Bailey (for Diaby, 69'): His left knee was heavily strapped when he came on, but he was lively once introduced. 6

Jhon Duran (for McGinn, 80'): Added more presence to Villa's attack after Diaby, McGinn and Bailey all struggling to support Watkins at the top of the pitch. Had a half chance to win the game late in the second half of extra-time, but his effort was well-saved. 6

Subs not used: Olsen, Gauci, Carlos, Lenglet, Kelser-Hayden, Iroegbunam, Munroe, Kellyman.


Lille: Yazici (15'), Andre (68')

Villa: Cash (87')

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