Ajax 0-0 Aston Villa – Both Teams Reduced To 10 Men In Uefa Europa Conference League Clash

Ajax Aston Villa

It proved to be hardly a thriller at the Johan Cruyff Arena on Thursday evening, as Ajax welcomed Aston Villa to Amsterdam for the first leg of their Europa Conference League last-16 tie. Unai Emery’s side produced what was a pretty classic performance away from home in a two-legged contest as they defended stoutly. Both teams were reduced to 10 men late on as tempers flared.

Ezri Konsa and Tristan Gooijer were sent off late on as Ajax and Aston Villa played out a 0-0 draw in the first leg of their Europa Conference League last-16 tie on Thursday.

An electric atmosphere at the Johan Cruyff Arena did not lead to a thrilling contest – Brian Brobbey’s miss the only highlight of a tepid first half.
However, a liberal use of his cards from referee Enea Jorgji eventually sparked things into life in the final 10 minutes.

With Konsa shown a second booking for dragging down Chuba Akpom, Gooijer then received his marching orders for what the official deemed a reckless lunge three minutes later.
Both teams almost made the greater space they were subsequently afforded count – Akpom failing to head home when unmarked in the box before Leon Bailey saw a dangerous effort blocked, with Villa – on the back of their superb home record – surely the favourites to get the job done in the second leg at Villa Park.

With Villa’s defence dozing, Brobbey should have put Ajax ahead just after the half-hour, only for the striker to drill wide when one-on-one with Emiliano Martinez.
Villa’s goalkeeper came to the visitors’ rescue after the restart, brilliantly keeping out Kenneth Taylor’s effort.
Yet Villa’s composed display came unstuck in the 83rd minute – Konsa seeing red after he was adjudged to have dragged down substitute Akpom. However, numerical parity was soon restored when referee Jorgji sent Gooijer off for a challenge on Nicolo Zaniolo.
Akpom should have done better with a free header in the final minute of normal time, and Bailey might have made Ajax pay if not for Ahmetcan Kaplan’s excellent block in stoppage time, to leave the tie finely poised heading into the second leg.