Aston Villa Warned Against Lille Threat in Champions League Race

Aston Villa, who are fourth in the Premier League and are currently heading towards a Champions League starting position, are warned not least because of their narrow lead over Lille. Already in the first leg in London, the Sturm Graz conqueror presented himself as an unpleasant opponent and proved to be absolutely equal. Coach Unai Emery’s selection could especially thank goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, who drove the guests from France to despair with his saves.

“We created chances and also allowed chances,” explained the Aston Villa coach. “We have to be more stable in the second leg because they were more dangerous than we would have liked.” However, it won’t be easy for his team, as Lille has been unbeaten in 15 home games. Emery therefore hopes that goalgetter Ollie Watkins will make the difference, as he has done a few times this season. The 28-year-old goalscorer scored 1-0 in the first leg and now has 26 goals this season. At the weekend, Watkins also secured a 2-0 final score against previous league leaders Arsenal.

Reuters/Andrew Couldridge Villa goalgetter Watkins is currently scoring like a success, goalie Martinez is already calling for him to be voted “Player of the Season” in England

There is great respect for the opponent on both sides. This is how Lille striker Jonathan David outlined what is important in the second leg. “We have to be perfect, take advantage of the opportunities and find the little details that make the difference,” explained the 24-year-old Canadian, who has 23 goals this season, in an interview with “L’Equipe”. In the first leg in London, after falling behind early on, they missed too many chances to equalize. “But every game is different, it’s no coincidence that Aston Villa are fourth in the league. That’s saying something.”

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Spectacle guaranteed in Istanbul

The game between Fenerbahce Istanbul and Olympiakos Piraeus (9 p.m.) promises another spectacle after five goals were scored in the first leg. The Greeks were already 3-0 ahead after 57 minutes, but Fenerbahce fought back and, thanks to a fantastic final offensive, kept their chance of promotion. “We didn’t throw in the towel,” explained coach Ismail Kartal. “We took risks and could have even made it 3-3. Hopefully we can progress in front of our fans in Istanbul.”

PAOK Saloniki, meanwhile, is aiming for a successful comeback against Club Bruges (9 p.m.) as in the round of 16, when they overcame Dinamo Zagreb 5-1 at home after a 2-0 defeat in the first leg in Croatia and were promoted. Away from home, the Greeks remained harmless offensively at 0-1, but the Belgians still failed to make a preliminary decision and missed too many chances.

Fiorentina will have to break through Viktoria Plzen’s defense in the second leg; the Czechs have not conceded a goal in 669 minutes. “We have to put more pressure on and with our fans behind us we should make it to the next round,” said Fiorentina midfielder Antonin Barak after the goalless draw in the first leg.

2024-04-18 10:17:35
#Conference #League #Open #race #places #semifinals


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