Unai Emery still believes Aston Villa can find happy ending after Greek tragedy

Unai Emery has not given up hope of Aston Villa still reaching a first European final since 1982 despite losing 4-2 in the first leg of their Europa Conference League semi-final against Olympiacos.

Villa, playing their biggest occasion in Europe since winning the European Cup 42 years ago, suffered a Greek tragedy as they crumbled on home soil.

Ayoub El Kaabi scored a hat-trick and Santiago Hezze’s deflected effort made it a memorable night for Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis’ club.

Villa had made it 2-2 through Ollie Watkins and Moussa Diaby, but they capitulated and Douglas Luiz’s late penalty miss made it an evening to forget.

Emery said: “Now they are favourites, now we are going to try and prepare the match.

“It completely changes the match in Athens, playing two goals behind them but we have an opportunity to play better and control the game better than today. Maybe we can get confidence.

“We are frustrated and disappointed, we didn’t play well. We didn’t have control of the game.

“They did well and we didn’t do like we planned.

“Now they are favourite, they deserved to win the first leg. We will try next week to come back but now of course they are favourites.”

Two El Kaabi goals in 13 first-half minutes swung the tie in Olympiacos’ favour.

Goals either side of half-time from Watkins and Diaby appeared to put Villa in the box seat but quickfire efforts from El Kaabi and Hezze put the Greek side back in control.

Luiz’s miss from 12 yards, on a poor night for the Brazilian, made it a miserable evening.

Jose Luis Mendilibar got one over on his Spanish counterpart.

“We played our game without having to think about Aston Villa, we were not scared of them”, he said.

Sourse: breakingnews.ie

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