Lille 2-1 Aston VIlla (3-4 on penalties)

Emi Martinez

Aston Villa’s dream of landing the UEFA Europa Conference League is still alive after a dramatic penalty shoot-out victory over Lille. A goal in each half by Yusuf Yazici and Benjamin Andrew looked set to send Lille through on aggregate before Matty Cash struck a late goal to force extra time. In the shoot-out, Emi Martinez proved the hero with two saves and some theatrics.

Aston Villa are through to a major European semi-final for the first time since 1982 after squeezing past Lille on penalties in the UEFA Europa Conference League.
Emi Martinez – booed from the outset in northern France after his penalty heroics and histrionics in the 2022 World Cup final – saved two penalties and was shown two yellow cards on the night he proved to be Villa’s saviour.
Their other saviour was Matty Cash, who scored a goal from nothing in the 87th minute to send the tie to extra time, capitalising on a goalkeeping error.

Lille’s Yusuf Yazici had opened the scoring with a fine first-time finish inside 15 minutes to make it 2-2 on aggregate and captain Benjamin Andre gave them the lead from a corner.
Yet Lille could not hold onto that lead and once it went to extra time, with the game’s tempo falling, the spectre of penalties and pantomime villain Martinez taking centre stage loomed large.
It was Andre who failed to score the final penalty of a dramatic shoot-out which also saw Martinez shown a yellow card for taunting the crowd, but not a red, as his earlier booking for time-wasting did not carry over to penalties. Villa won the shoot-out 4-3 to advance and will play either Fenerbahce or Olympickos in the semi-finals.

source – Lille 2-1 Aston Villa (3-4 on pens): Emi Martinez the hero as Villa win shoot-out to make Europa Conference League semis – Eurosport