Aston Villa 2-1 Legia Warsaw: Alex Moreno scores winner on return as Villa take control of group

Alex Moreno celebrates
Alex Moreno’s second-half winner was his first in a Villa shirt

Alex Moreno returned from a six-month injury lay-off to score the winner as Aston Villa beat Legia Warsaw to move above them at the top of Europa Conference League Group E.

The Spanish defender was named in Unai Emery’s starting XI for the first time since suffering a hamstring injury in May, and was on hand to turn home Douglas Luiz’s pinpoint free-kick for already-qualified Villa.

Emery’s team had led through Moussa Diaby’s first-half drive, before being pegged back after Ernest Muci took advantage of Boubacar Kamara’s stray pass at the back.

Despite the jubilation, news filtered through that missiles were thrown at police outside the ground before kick-off, resulting in Legia supporters not being allowed to enter the stadium.

Villa had already qualified before kick-off thanks to AZ Alkmaar’s win over Zrinjski Mostar earlier in the day but they couldn’t find a third goal which would have sealed top spot in the group.

Despite that, the narrow victory over the Polish side means Emery’s side only need a point at Zrinjski on matchday six to progress as group winners.

Thursday’s win is Villa’s seventh in a row at home in all competitions since the Carabao Cup defeat by Everton, and they started the match at a pace that illustrated that form.

With their very first attack Diaby cut inside on his left and finished clinically, before Ollie Watkins’ replacement Jhon Duran saw a couple of efforts thwarted by Legia goalkeeper Kacper Tobiasz.

Muci then levelled for the visitors with a sublime curled effort following Kamara’s rushed pass from the edge of the box, which appeared to take the sting out of the hosts.

Emery’s team had to win by two clear goals to guarantee top spot on the night, and the pace at which they approached the second half was indicative of that knowledge.

Legia defender Gil Dias struck the bar with a looping header soon after the restart, but after Moreno’s finish at the back post edged Villa ahead, it was the home side who dominated proceedings.

Substitute Leon Bailey thought he had got the all-important third goal when he lofted the ball over Tobiasz in the dying moments, but the ball rebounded off the underside of the bar and the goalline before spinning away.

‘He is important’ – Emery on Moreno

Alex Moreno celebrates
Alex Moreno made 19 appearances for Aston Villa last season after arriving at the club in January

Moreno was forced off with a hamstring injury in Villa’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool back in May and hadn’t featured again for them before Thursday’s match.

The full-back has been involved in matchday squads in recent weeks but such has been the form of Villa – Emery’s team sit fourth in the Premier League – he has not been able to take game time away from Lucas Digne.

The 30-year-old was given the nod against Legia and repaid his manager’s faith with the decisive goal, before a standing ovation greeted him when he was substituted on 78 minutes.

Emery said: “He is very important. Alex Moreno was very excited and wishing to play.

“He scored one goal and now we can have more players being ready and available to help the team.”

Diaby added: “I am very happy for Alex. He has a big injury and we know Alex is a good player, a good person. I am very happy for him that he scored the second goal and this goal won us this game.”

Player of the match

Álex MorenoÁlex Moreno

Aston Villa

  1. Squad number15Player nameÁlex Moreno

  2. Squad number6Player nameDouglas Luiz

  3. Squad number31Player nameBailey

  4. Squad number41Player nameJ Ramsey

  5. Squad number7Player nameMcGinn

  6. Squad number12Player nameDigne

  7. Squad number19Player nameDiaby

  8. Squad number22Player nameZaniolo

  9. Squad number32Player nameDendoncker

  10. Squad number8Player nameTielemans

  11. Squad number4Player nameKonsa

  12. Squad number17Player nameLenglet

  13. Squad number24Player nameDurán

  14. Squad number2Player nameCash

  15. Squad number44Player nameKamara

  16. Squad number25Player nameOlsen

Legia Warsaw

  1. Squad number20Player nameMuçi

  2. Squad number13Player nameWszolek

  3. Squad number99Player nameSlisz

  4. Squad number1Player nameTobiasz

  5. Squad number28Player nameGual

  6. Squad number55Player nameJedrzejczyk

  7. Squad number27Player nameJosué

  8. Squad number22Player nameElitim

  9. Squad number3Player nameKapuadi

  10. Squad number33Player nameKun

  11. Squad number17Player nameGil Dias

  12. Squad number12Player namePankov

  13. Squad number9Player nameKramer

  14. Squad number67Player nameKapustka

  15. Squad number21Player nameÇelhaka

  16. Squad number39Player nameRosolek


Aston Villa

Formation 4-4-2

  • 25Olsen
  • 2Cash
  • 4Konsa
  • 17Lenglet
  • 15MorenoSubstituted forDigneat 79′minutes
  • 8TielemansBooked at 53minsSubstituted forJ Ramseyat 71′minutes
  • 44Kamara
  • 6Douglas LuizBooked at 41minsSubstituted forDendonckerat 90′minutes
  • 7McGinnSubstituted forBaileyat 71′minutes
  • 19DiabyBooked at 36minsSubstituted forZanioloat 79′minutes
  • 24DuránBooked at 90mins


  • 1E Martínez
  • 3Diego Carlos
  • 12Digne
  • 14P Torres
  • 16Chambers
  • 22Zaniolo
  • 31Bailey
  • 32Dendoncker
  • 41J Ramsey
  • 42Marschall

Legia Warsaw

Formation 3-4-3

  • 1Tobiasz
  • 12Pankov
  • 55JedrzejczykBooked at 75mins
  • 3Kapuadi
  • 13WszolekBooked at 41minsSubstituted forRosolekat 83′minutes
  • 99SliszSubstituted forÇelhakaat 76′minutes
  • 22Elitim
  • 17Bastião DiasSubstituted forKunat 55′minutes
  • 27Soares PesqueiraSubstituted forKapustkaat 76′minutes
  • 28GualBooked at 39minsSubstituted forKramerat 55′minutesBooked at 68mins
  • 20Muçi


  • 4Burch
  • 5Ribeiro
  • 7Pekhart
  • 8Augustyniak
  • 9Kramer
  • 21Çelhaka
  • 26Rejczyk
  • 30Hladun
  • 33Kun
  • 39Rosolek
  • 67Kapustka
  • 86Strzalek

Live Text

Source: BBC News

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