Aston Villa vs Olympiacos LIVE: Europa Conference League result and reaction after El Kaabi hat-trick in semi-final first leg

Aston Villa mounted a comeback either side of half-time but ultimately were far too open defensively and suffered a 4-2 defeat in the Europa Conference League semi-final first leg against Olympiacos.

Ollie Watkins and Moussa Diaby netted either side of the interval, during which there was a medical emergency involving a fan, after Ayoub El Kaabi had scored twice for the Greek outfit. However, the visiting forward then immediately netted a penalty for his hat-trick and Ezri Konsa deflected in another goal for Olympiacos’ fourth, before Douglas Luiz missed a late penalty to leave Villa a mountain to climb in the second leg.

Olympiacos remain chasing a double, fighting for the title in the Greek top flight, fourth place but only one point off second - and now they have one foot in the final in Europe, too. Follow the action from the first leg below and see the Aston Villa vs Olympiacos predictions and latest odds here.

Aston Villa vs Olympiacos - LIVE

  • No goal - Bailey heads in from close range but Lenglet’s foul means it’s ruled out

  • GOAL! 16’ - El Kaabi scores, the offside flag goes up - but a VAR check says it stands! (0-1)

  • GOAL! 28’ - El Kaabi nets his brace with a fine run and finish under Olsen (0-2)

  • GOAL! 45’ - Watkins finishes brilliantly right before half time (1-2)

  • GOAL! 50’ - Diaby flashes a finish inside the near post soon after the restart (2-2)

  • GOAL! 55’ - El Kaabi scores penalty for his hat-trick after Douglas Luiz handball (2-3)

  • GOAL! 67’ - Hezze’s long-range strike is deflected off Konsa and in (2-4)

  • PENALTY MISSED - 82’ - Luiz sends spot kick wide off the post after Duran is fouled

Unai Emery meets his match as the Spanish conqueror of European football

22:30 , Karl Matchett

The problem with assuming a Europa League winner with Sevilla is bound to conquer the continent is that there is more than one of them. Unai Emery can seem the king of Europe, but a defending champion has one foot in the Europa Conference League final. Rather than Emery’s fifth European trophy, it could be Jose Luis Mendilibar’s second in as many years after, courtesy of Ayoub El Kaabi’s hat-trick, Olympiacos stormed Villa Park.

Aston Villa may retain hope of two trips to Athens this month, for the final as well as the semi-final second leg, but they came Acropolis in Birmingham.

After penalties brought them to this stage, they could rue two more: the one Douglas Luiz conceded and the one he missed.

Villa’s first European semi-final for 42 years was a classic, but one they could regret, their defensive frailties allied with different types of misfortune for Olympiacos’ third and fourth goals. A historic occasion may lead to a landmark outcome if Olympiacos become the first Greek club to win a European trophy.

A night when Villa mustered one comeback, with Moussa Diaby creating one goal and scoring another either side of half-time, leaves them needing another.

Richard Jolly at Villa Park:

Unai Emery meets his match as the Spanish conqueror of European football

Medical emergency halts restart of Aston Villa’s Europa Conference League semi-final against Olympiacos

22:23 , Karl Matchett

The start of the second half in the Europa Conference League semi-final between Aston Villa and Olympiacos was delayed on Thursday night after one supporter suffered a cardiac arrest.

Broadcaster TNT Sports confirmed during the half-time interval that kick-off for the second 45 minutes was to be delayed a short time, as medical teams attended the individual, believed to be an Aston Villa fan.

The additional stoppage was only a brief one, with the incident seemingly starting just before or shortly into the half-time break, with a stadium announcement therefore able to quickly ask other supporters to clear an area in the lower tier of the Villa Park stand to allow emergency services access.

Medical emergency halts restart of Aston Villa’s Europa Conference League semi-final

FT - Aston Villa 2-4 Olympiacos

22:19 , Karl Matchett

The fourth goal was a deflection, but the Villa keeper still should have saved it.

“Olsen will be disappointed but it’s not just a goalkeeper situation. The all-round performance defensively as a team has to be better because they’ve conceded too many,” former right-back Alan Hutton adds.

FT - Aston Villa 2-4 Olympiacos

22:14 , Karl Matchett

“El Kaabi’s got great movement and Villa were exposed. If you play a high line you’ve got to get it right and Villa didn’t. Cash played him onside the first one, Lenglet goes to press and doesn’t get there,” Peter Crouch explains on TNT Sports.

Villa’s defensive work was dreadfully disappointing throughout tonight, in truth - four conceded at home is poor, two allowed in the manner they were second half after such a big comeback is arguably worse.

FT - Aston Villa 2-4 Olympiacos

22:02 , Karl Matchett

And that’s that, the first leg comes to an end and Villa have been hammered 4-2 on home soil in the first leg of this semi-final.

Watkins and Diaby scored excellent goals for the hosts, but El Kaabi netted a very clinical hat-trick - the last one from the penalty spot - and Hezze saw a shot deflected in too.

A late missed penalty from Luiz leaves Villa with a mountain to climb in Greece next week.

90+3’ - Aston Villa 2-4 Olympiacos

22:01 , Karl Matchett

Watkins tries to fashion himself a chance in the box as time ticks away. Initially it’s good feet and he finds a bit of space, but one touch is just overcooked and the ball rolls frustratingly out of play.

That’s just about that - a missed penalty may prove costly, but Villa went from 2-2 to behind again far too quickly, they needed to hold control after mounting that comeback.

89’ - Aston Villa 2-4 Olympiacos

21:56 , Karl Matchett

Into the last minute of the 90 now. We’ll have five minutes of added time.

Watkins runs towards the penalty box and is pretty clearly barged over - the referee simply waves him away to says get up.

Duran attempts a bicycle kick from the edge of the box which almost goes out for a throw-in.

Fiorentina have scored a late third to lead 3-2 at home to Club Brugge.

86’ - Aston Villa 2-4 Olympiacos

21:53 , Karl Matchett

McGinn tries his luck on the run but it’s saved by the keeper. Olympiacos know they are very close to a massive result here.

Villa Park sounds extremely deflated on the back of that miss from 12 yards by Luiz. He’s scored so many this term for them - what a time to miss the target.

MISSED! 82’ - Aston Villa 2-4 Olympiacos

21:49 , Karl Matchett

What a big moment...and Douglas Luiz cannot do the business!

The Brazilian waits for the referee, waits for his moment...a yellow card is shown to one player who is trying to put Luiz off as he lines up the spot kick.

Then he steps up finally...and places it wide off the post!

PENALTY! 80’ - Aston Villa 2-4 Olympiacos

21:47 , Karl Matchett

Fierce drive from Fortounis, parried awkwardly by Olsen but he gets away with it.

Straight up the other end, Duran wants penalty for handball, doesn’t get it, goes again and is tripped by the defender - this one is a penalty! Dive says Carmo, no way says the ref!

75’ - Aston Villa 2-4 Olympiacos

21:46 , Karl Matchett

Unai Emery trying to rouse his team and get them to lift their peformance once more.

A third goal for Villa here really would set the second leg up as a night of possibility - but if they leave space and get hit for a fifth here it would be all but over, surely.

70’ - Aston Villa 2-4 Olympiacos

21:40 , Karl Matchett

Hosts have to push on again now and try and find a way back into the game. Luiz shoots from range but it’s weak and saved.

Villa sub: Duran on for Rogers

Olympiacos sub: Podence replaced by Horta

GOAL! 66’ - Aston Villa 2-4 Olympiacos

21:35 , Karl Matchett

Oh disaster for Villa!

Konsa gets in the way of Hezze’s speculative shot and deflects it the wrong way to its original trajectory - and Olsen reacts far too slowly and can’t keep the ball out.

The goalkeeper gets a fist to the ball but it’s a strange attempt to stop the strike and he only flicks it into the opposite corner of the net...he really does have to do better there regardless of the deflection. 4-2 to Olympiacos who have restored their two-goal lead.

60’ - Aston Villa 2-3 Olympiacos

21:27 , Karl Matchett

Almost 3-3 as Watkins runs through but can’t quite reach a pass, only for Tzolakis to whack his clearance straight at the striker - luckily for the keeper it diverts miles over the bar.

Club Brugge have equalised at Fiorentina again, 2-2 now, but the Belgians are also down to ten men.

GOAL! 55’ - Aston Villa 2-3 Olympiacos

21:23 , Karl Matchett

El Kaabi with the hat-trick! He steps up, stays cool and rolls it home to the left, Olsen going the wrong way.

Villa were level for about four and a half minutes - now they have to come from behind once more.

PENALTY! 54’ - Aston Villa 2-2 Olympiacos

21:21 , Karl Matchett

Crazy! Another twist in the tale - a corner goes deep in the Villa box and Retsos heads goalward - Luiz jumps in front of him with his arm up, the ball strikes his elbow and the ref immediately says penalty!

GOAL! 50’ - Aston Villa 2-2 Olympiacos

21:19 , Karl Matchett

What a finish, out of nowhere! Diaby and Bailey combine down the right and it’s Diaby who absolutely smashes a belting finish past the keeper and in at the near post! Fantastic start to the second half for Villa and it’s 2-2 now.

Olympiacos’ lead wiped out in the minutes either side of half time.

46' - Aston Villa 1-2 Olympiacos

21:11 , Karl Matchett

OK the players are now back out and we’re ready to go once more - hopefully all turns out well with the supporter who suffered a cardiac arrest. The medical teams have attended the matter and an ambulance was in waiting.

HT sub for Olympiacos - Omar Richards on for Francisco Ortega. We are back underway.

HT - Aston Villa 1-2 Olympiacos

21:07 , Karl Matchett

Medical emergency in the stands at the moment and as such the restart is delayed. A short wait until the teams come back out, an announcement says.

Fans have been removed from part of the lower tier to allow medical access - no timeframe just yet for the restart.

HT - Aston Villa 1-2 Olympiacos

21:01 , Karl Matchett

Scores around Europe tonight:


Aston Villa 1-2 Olympiacos

Fiorentina 2-1 Club Brugge


AS Roma 0-1 Bayer Leverkusen

Marseille 1-1 Atalanta

HT - Villa 1-2 Olympiacos

20:58 , Karl Matchett

One final chance before the break for Villa as Diaby is played in on the right side of the box, but he is blocked off and the whistle goes.

Good time to get back in the match with that Watkins goal but still work to do. A right royal celebration!

GOAL! 45’ - Aston Villa 1-2 Olympiacos

20:48 , Karl Matchett

Brilliant move, excellent finish!

Watkins has been anonymous for so much of this first half but Cash and Diaby combine, Watkins makes the diagonal run and his first-time finish is absolutely inch-perfect, past the keeper and right into the far corner!

Back in the game and the tie - they still trail 2-1 but Villa have the goal before half-time they wanted.

44’ - Aston Villa 0-2 Olympiacos

20:46 , Karl Matchett

Bailey bursts into the box, tricks his man, sprints past him and goes to ground under a challenge - referee immediately waves it away as the fans scream for a penalty!

Tell you what on the replay it looks a lot like Ortega has tripped him on the way past, one leg through Bailey’s, but play on is the word and nothing from the VAR for the ref to look again.

Fortunate, the defender. Into stoppage time we go and there will be three minutes.

42’ - Aston Villa 0-2 Olympiacos

20:43 , Karl Matchett

Cash is spoken to by the ref for jumping straight through Podence to win a header. Villa losing all focus here at the moment and the fans fuming too at every decision going against them. Nothing that the ref has done wrong though - Olympiacos are simply gaming matters better than Villa are.

Bailey exemplifies that by trying to whack the ball against Podence and only managing to give away a corner.

38’ - Aston Villa 0-2 Olympiacos

20:40 , Karl Matchett

Bit scruffy but McGinn works an angle from the free-kick and gets in a shot, which is blocked and deflected behind. The Scot then takes the corner but it’s poor and cleared by the first man.

Villa need him and a few others to step up here to get themselves back into the tie.

Luiz starts dropping deeper looking to do just that, getting himself on the ball and trying to start moves with a bit more pace and penetration. The fans respond and urge the team on with renewed vigour.

 (Nick Potts/PA Wire)
(Nick Potts/PA Wire)

36’ - Aston Villa 0-2 Olympiacos

20:38 , Karl Matchett

The home fans getting a little irate at visiting players going to ground and the stoppages in the game. Get used to it, is all we can really say - sides in Europe at this stage are going to do exactly that.

Watkins is fouled outside the box and it’s a great chance to deliver a dangerous ball into the box from the right flank.

Andrea Belotti has scored another for Fiorentina - they now lead 2-1.

32’ - Aston Villa 0-2 Olympiacos

20:36 , Karl Matchett

Bailey beats his man and fires into the side-netting via a deflection. Cash went down in the box just beforehand but the ref signalled no foul and played on for the shot.

Unai Emery has just spent about three minutes ranting at Olsen and Douglas Luiz during an injury break in play.

GOAL! 28’ - Aston Villa 0-2 Olympiacos - LIVE

20:30 , Karl Matchett

Another goal! What a brilliant move and a great finish. Podence lofts a fantastic pass over the defence, El Kaabi runs through past the static centre-backs, nods it past Olsen and tucks his first-time finish home under the ‘keeper’s dive and into the near post.

2-0 to Olympiacos and Emery and his team have a huge job on their hands now.

24’ - Aston Villa 0-1 Olympiacos - LIVE

20:28 , Karl Matchett

Villa’s first game against Greek opponents tonight. So far, not so good - officiating decisions for two goalscoring chances have not fallen in their favour.

Olympiacos are far more aggressive in midfield so far in this half and that’s stopping Villa getting into the final third - and starting their own counter-attacks very quickly.

20’ - Aston Villa 0-1 Olympiacos - LIVE

20:25 , Karl Matchett

Villa need a bit of a response here, they’ve struggled to get too many passes strung together and those early spaces the wide men were fashioning have definitely dried up. Unai Emery prowls the touchline looking a bit concerned.

Equaliser in the other semi-final - Fiorentina 1-1 Club Brugge now.

In the Europa League semis it’s Roma 0-0 Leverkusen and Marseille 1-1 Atalanta.

GOAL! 16’ - Aston Villa 0-1 Olympiacos - LIVE

20:19 , Karl Matchett

Olympiacos’ turn to celebrate and then be bewildered. El Kaabi runs through and buries his shot past Olsen but the offside flag is straight up.

Of course it goes to VAR...and the referee is told a different outcome - looks like Cash just played him on and the Greeks are in front!

1-0 to Olympiacos!

14’ - Aston Villa 0-0 Olympiacos - LIVE

20:16 , Karl Matchett

Another opening for Villa goes somewhat begging, this time after Diaby winds past two challenges and puts his pass across the box, but eventually Digne’s shot is blocked at close quarters.

Douglas Luiz is next to try his luck but it’s saved on the bounce by the Olympiacos keeper. Watkins is struggling with what looks like an arm injury but he’s continuing for now.

NO GOAL! 9’ - Aston Villa 0-0 Olympiacos - LIVE

20:11 , Karl Matchett

Villa have the ball in the net and Bailey runs away celebrating...but the whistle has gone and the goal doesn’t stand! A nice corner routine is worked left to right, Konsa puts it back across the six-yard box and Bailey is unmarked to head home from two yards.

It seems to be Lenglet again though, pulling his man down in the middle, and the goal is ruled out.

8’ - Aston Villa 0-0 Olympiacos - LIVE

20:08 , Karl Matchett

Brilliant turn and acceleration from Rogers - beats his man, opens his body and curls in a low shot towards the far corner which Tzolakis has to stretch to tip wide!

First moment of danger for the home side. From the resulting corner Lenglet is climbing and falling all over his man and concedes a free-kick, chance gone.

After a nervy start it’s more controlled and assured now from Villa in the last few minutes.

4’ - Aston Villa 0-0 Olympiacos - LIVE

20:05 , Karl Matchett

What a chance. A lofted pass into the far post zone from Podence and Iborra is there totally unmarked - his flicked header is just reached by Olsen’s fingertips to clear the crossbar! Perhaps El Kaabi got in his way a little if anything but Villa got a lucky escape.

In the other semi-final there’s already been a goal - Fiorentina are 1-0 up at home to Club Brugge.

1’ - Aston Villa 0-0 Olympiacos - LIVE

20:01 , Karl Matchett

Underway at Villa Park! Olympiacos in a grey and orange patterned strip, Villa in their classic colours. Huge noise, huge game - here we go.

Aston Villa vs Olympiacos - LIVE

19:56 , Karl Matchett

Players are in the tunnel and all ready to emerge onto the Villa Park pitch. John McGinn leading the Villa side out, Robin Olsen behind him as the stand-in goalkeeper. How much will they miss Emi Martinez tonight?

Aston Villa vs Olympiacos - LIVE

19:45 , Karl Matchett

The aforementioned news on European spots of course impacts Villa’s need to finish in the top four, but they won’t worry about that tonight and can’t do anything about it anyway - Spurs are currently in action at Chelsea and you can follow that live blog here if you wish:

Chelsea vs Tottenham LIVE: Latest Premier League updates

Aston Villa vs Olympiacos - LIVE

19:36 , Karl Matchett

The Premier League has missed out on a fifth Champions League spot for next season to the Bundesliga.

One club from each of the two countries who collectively perform best in European club competition this season are granted additional places in the new-look 36-team league phase being introduced for the 2024-25 season.

Borussia Dortmund’s semi-final first leg victory over Paris St Germain on Wednesday night sealed the second spot for Germany.

Italy wrapped up the first ‘European Performance Spot’ (EPS) last month, and it now means that no matter how well Aston Villa do in the Europa Conference League, England cannot secure an extra place.

Villa must now hold on to fourth spot in the Premier League in order to qualify for the Champions League. They are seven points ahead of Tottenham, but Spurs have two games in hand on Unai Emery‘s team.

Dortmund would be the team to benefit from the second EPS as they currently occupy fifth place in the Bundesliga.

If Dortmund go on to win this season’s Champions League, the team finishing sixth - currently Eintracht Frankfurt - would secure the EPS.

Aston Villa vs Olympiacos - LIVE

19:26 , Karl Matchett

Around 35 minutes to kick-off at Villa Park and the anticipation is certainly building...the fans are giving the players a phenomenal entrance for their first European semi-final in 42 years!

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Aston Villa vs Olympiacos - LIVE

19:07 , Karl Matchett

And the visiting side’s lineup!

Former Premier League winger Daniel Podence is there, who used to be with Wolves, as is ex-Leicester midfielder Vicente Iborra.

Olympiacos XI: Tzolakis, Rodinei, Retsos, Carmo, Ortega, Hezze, Iborra, Chiquinho, Podence, El Kaabi, Fortounis.

Aston Villa vs Olympiacos - LIVE

19:05 , Karl Matchett

Villa lineup is in - Olsen in net as expected and Rogers keeps his place after a great run of form.

Villa XI: Olsen, Cash, Konsa, Lenglet, Digne, Bailey, McGinn, Luiz, Rogers, Diaby, Watkins

Unai Emery has total trust in Aston Villa’s deputy goalkeeper Robin Olsen

18:50 , Karl Matchett

Aston Villa boss Unai Emery says he has full faith in deputy goalkeeper Robin Olsen going into Thursday’s Europa League Conference semi-final first leg with Olympiacos.

The Sweden international will play as number one Emiliano Martinez is suspended after picking up three yellow cards in the competition so far, with two of them coming in the quarter-final second-leg win in Lille.

Olsen may well have been playing anyway as Martinez sustained a hamstring injury in the first half of Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Chelsea, with the 34-year-old coming on at half-time.

Unai Emery has total trust in Aston Villa’s deputy goalkeeper Robin Olsen

Aston Villa vs Olympiacos - LIVE

18:40 , Karl Matchett

The other match tonight is Fiorentina vs Club Brugge - naturally, the winners there and in this tie will be meeting in the final.

This year, the Europa Conference League final is being held in Athens...another big incentive, then, for Villa’s opponents to go the distance.

We’ll also keep you posted from the Europa League semis played tonight:

Roma vs Leverkusen

Marseille vs Atalanta.

All matches kick off at 8pm BST.

The hidden gems and Premier League misfits leading Olympiacos to Greek football history

18:30 , Karl Matchett

Aston Villa, the only English left in Europe, are preparing for a semi-final in the Europa Conference League, but ultimately believe they will eventually reach a higher place than the third tier of European club football.

For their opponents, Olympiacos, this is as big as it gets for them in recent years, and they are doing it with some of the castaway members from Premier League clubs.

It is a first-ever appearance in a European semi-final for Thrylos, their place in the final four has been in jeopardy on multiple occasions along the way.

Nathan Edwards looks at Villa’s opponents tonight:

The Premier League misfits guiding Olympiacos to Greek football history

Aston Villa vs Olympiacos - LIVE

18:20 , The Independent

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Aston Villa vs Olympiacos - LIVE

18:10 , Karl Matchett

Aston Villa and Olympiacos vie for a place in a European final as the two clubs meet in the semi-finals of the Europa Conference League.

Unai Emery’s side survived a penalty shootout to edge out Lille in the last eight and get home advantage first in the two-legged tie.

Their Greek opponents also needed penalties to overcome Fenerbahce, with Konstantinos Tzolakis saving three penalties to continue to build his reputation as a goalkeeper of real promise.

The winner of the encounter will take on either Fiorentina or Club Brugge in the final in Athens on May 29.

Here’s everything you need to know.

Is Aston Villa v Olympiacos on TV? Kick-off time, channel and how to watch

Aston Villa vs Olympiacos - LIVE

17:42 , Karl Matchett

Hello and welcome to the Independent’s live coverage of the Europa Conference League semi-final first leg, where Aston Villa are playing hosts to Greek side Olympiacos.

It’s a massive chance to land silverware for the Premier League club, who have been resurgent under Unai Emery and could yet seal a top-four finish in England too. For now though it’s full attention on the hunt for a European trophy, meaning they’ll need a decent first-leg result tonight.

Stay tuned for all the team news and match buildup.