A frustrating night for Aston Villa in Poland, as they fell to a disappointing defeat to Legia Warsaw. Goals from Duran and Digne were not enough.
Words: Regan Foy | @findfoy
Aston Villa and their faithful away support travelled to Warsaw, Poland this evening to take in the side’s first European “proper” tie in well over a decade, following the qualification games against Hibernian.
It was not an ideal start for Unai Emery’s men, however, as Wszolek was able to put the home side ahead under the intimidating atmosphere of the Stadia Wojska Polskiego. Lax concentration from Lucas Digne allowed the Legia player to have a free effort on goal.
Within two minutes, Aston Villa were level. Nicolo Zaniolo turned his man well in the middle of the park before firing from outside of the box. Warsaw’s keeper managed to palm the ball onto the post, allowing the in-form Jhon Duran to get free of his man. The forward had to generate his own power and momentum, but did well and finished well.
In the 25th minute, Aston Villa switched off again defensively. A long ball found Wszolek free on the right, who was able to get a ball into a central position for Muci to fire past Emiliano Martinez.
Seven minutes before the end of the half, Lucas Digne made amends for his earlier error. The ball fell to the French fullback after bouncing around in the Legia box, who fired towards goal. His effort took a deflection but nestled cutely into the bottom right corner as Aston Villa drew level.
Jhon Duran almost had his second in the 43rd minute as he got a shot away under pressure from the Warsaw defence – but ‘keeper Tobiasz was able to get down low and palm the ball away from danger.
Once again, early into a half, Aston Villa found themselves lacking desire defensively. Muci ran at Konsa and Chambers – both of whom struggled to get a hold of the Legia forward – allowing him to fire down low and beyond the outstretched dive of Emiliano Martinez.
On the hour mark, Unai Emery turned to his “top guns”, replacing Boubacar Kamara with Douglas Luiz, goalscorer Jhon Duran with Ollie Watkins, and captain John McGinn for Moussa Diaby.
Six minutes later saw more changes for Aston Villa, after Legia could have scored a fourth, with Calum Chambers making away for Poland international Matty Cash, and Zaniolo making away for Jacob Ramsey on his return from injury.
The next 20 or so minutes were, well, rather dull. Aston Villa didn’t look like challenging the Legia defence or goalkeeper.
There were five minutes of added time at the end of the 90. The final attempt of the game came as Leon Bailey wormed his way through the Legia defence, before his deflected shot landed with Tielemans who fired into the side netting.