HomeFootball NewsAston Villa 2-4 Olympiacos: El Kaabi stars as Emery's men stunned

Aston Villa 2-4 Olympiacos: El Kaabi stars as Emery’s men stunned

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Ayoub El Kaabi hit a hat-trick as Olympiacos took a significant step towards the Europa Conference League final with a 4-2 win at Aston Villa.

The visitors let a 2-0 lead slip only to come again as they claimed a potentially tie-winning advantage ahead of the second leg of the semi-final in Piraeus next week.

Villa’s misery was compounded by a late penalty miss from Douglas Luiz.

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Villa started well and Olympiacos goalkeeper Konstantinos Tzolakis saved well from Morgan Rogers before the hosts had a goal chalked off when Leon Bailey’s effort was ruled out for a foul in the build-up.

Having survived those scares, Olympiacos went ahead after 16 minutes, El Kaabi beating Villa’s offside trap to finish Chiquinho’s clever pass, the goal given by VAR after being initially ruled out.

Jose Luis Mendilibar’s men doubled their advantage 13 minutes later, El Kaabi again given far too much space and he converted on-loan Wolves winger Daniel Podence’s pass with impressive composure.

Unai Emery – a four-time winner of the Europa League – looked perplexed but he had something to cheer just before half-time as Moussa Diaby found Ollie Watkins and Villa’s top-scorer finished well.

It was 2-2 after 52 minutes when Diaby fired past Tzolakis at his near post.

The pendulum seemed to have swung Villa’s way but El Kaabi had other ideas, converting from the spot after 56 minutes after Douglas Luiz was adjudged to have handled Panagiotis Retsos’ header.

Villa fell further behind after 67 minutes when Santiago Hezze’s speculative effort deflected off Ezri Konsa and flew past Robin Olsen, deputising for the suspended Emi Martinez.

Douglas Luiz’s miserable night was compounded with six minutes to go – firing wide from the spot after David Carmo brought down Jhon Duran.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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