John Townley's player ratings as Aston Villa are eliminated from Europa Conference League by Olympiacos

Ayoub El Kaabi scored both goals for Olympiacos
Ayoub El Kaabi scored both goals for Olympiacos -Credit:Photo by Dimitris Kapantais / SOOC / SOOC via AFP) (Photo by DIMITRIS KAPANTAIS/SOOC/AFP via Getty Images

Aston Villa have been knocked out of the Europa Conference League after losing 6-2 on aggregate to Olympiacos. Following a 4-2 defeat at Villa Park last week, Unai Emery’s side were unable to turn the tie around at the Karaiskakis Stadium and lost 2-0 on the night.

Despite an encouraging start from Villa, Olympiacos took the lead against the early run of play leg as Ayoub El Kaabi - who bagged a hat-trick at Villa Park - opened the scoring by tapping in from close range. Villa played some good football in the first half and didn’t deserve to trail at the break given their control in the game and dominance in the final third.

Emery opted to play a back three and use wing-backs Matty Cash and Lucas Digne to stretch the pitch, allowing Leon Bailey and Moiussa Diaby to pick up dangerous positions inside the pitch. Villa had 80 per cent of possession in the first half, but lacked that cutting edge which they needed to progress to the final given their deficit from the home leg.

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Villa rallied in the second half, but struggled to make any clear-cut opportunities to put any fear in the hosts that their place in the final was at risk. Jhon Duran came on just before the hour mark for Diaby, who after missing Villa's best chance of the first half was largely ineffective.

Emery had very few options to turn to on the bench, but did bring on Tim Iroegbunam for Diego Carlos to allow John McGinn to operate further forward, while Luiz dropped into a deep role alongside Pau Torres and Ezri Konsa. Olympiacos added a second through El Kaabi with 10 minutes remaining and will go on to play Fiorentina in the Europa Conference League final on Wednesday, May 29.

Villa must switch their focus to Premier League duties with two games remaining to secure qualification for the Champions League.

Player ratings

Emi Martinez

Martinez passed a late fitness test to start ahead of Robin Olsen, who put in his best performance for Villa against Brighton last weekend. Villa progressed the ball well and played some good stuff in the first period, which Martinez was key to. When he has the ball Villa essentially have a spare man playing against the opponent's 10 outfielders. 5

Ezri Konsa

Konsa operated at right centre-back in a back three. It was a tricky task for him because Villa were always going to be vulnerable from counter-attacks. 5

Diego Carlos

Carlos battled with El Kaabi, but the striker had the better of Villa's backline, scoring five goals across both games. He was replaced in the 65th minute as Emery went for the jugular. 5

Pau Torres

Torres lost El Kaabi at the back post inside in the 10th minute, allowing the striker to tap in for the opener. The Spaniard is key to how Villa play with the ball and his quality in possession was on show tonight as Villa pinned their opponents back throughout. 5

Lucas Digne

Digne was a threat for Villa down the left, hugging the flank and putting balls into the box which asked questions of the Olympiacos backline. 5

John McGinn

He made a good interception in the box just before Olympiacos managed to take the lead. McGinn left nothing on the pitch and was a driving force to many of Villa's attacks. 6*

Douglas Luiz

Luiz used the ball well and helped Villa sustain pressure in the final third in the first half. The Brazilian lost confidence as the game went on after a couple of stray passes. 4

Matty Cash

Cash came back into the XI for the injured Morgan Rogers and played at right-wing back. He offered energy behind Bailey and had the beating of 34-year-old Quini. 5

Leon Bailey

After struggling to make an impact against Brighton after being shifted to the left following Rogers' substitution, Bailey looked more comfortable on the right tonight. He nearly scored from distance on the cusp of half-time, but Tzolis saved his effort well. 5

Moussa Diaby

Missed Villa's first big chance of the second leg after Bailey picked him out inside the box. Tzolis rushed out to thwart Diaby at a tight angle. He was replaced before the hour mark. 4

Ollie Watkins

Watkins had few chances to get among the goals tonight. His full focus will now be on becoming the first Villa player to bag 20 goals in a Premier League season in the final two games against Liverpool and Crystal Palace. 5


Jhon Duran (for Diaby, 58'): He was a presence in the box, but Villa were resigned to losing the tie by the time he entered the match.

Tim Iroegbunam (for Carlos, 65'): Iroegbunam came on to allow McGinn to operate further forward. Didn't look out of place.

Finley Munroe (for Digne, 87'): N/A

Omari Kellyman (for Bailey, 87'): N/A

Kaine Kesler-Hayden (for Cash, 87'): N/A

Subs not used: Gauci, Olsen, Lenglet, Patterson, Young.


Olympiacos: El Kaabi (10', 81')

Villa: N/A

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