HomeEuropa Conference LeagueLille v Aston Villa: Emery confused by bizarre double booking for Martinez

Lille v Aston Villa: Emery confused by bizarre double booking for Martinez

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Unai Emery thought Emiliano Martinez had been sent off during Aston Villa’s penalty shoot-out against Lille in the Europa Conference League quarter-finals on Thursday, only for a little-known law to save the goalkeeper.

Villa were on the brink of being eliminated from Europe when they went 2-0 down at Stade Pierre-Mauroy, having won last week’s first leg 2-1 at Villa Park.

However, Matty Cash’s deflected 87th-minute strike took the tie to extra time and neither team could find a winner, ensuring spot-kicks were required.

Martinez then saved kicks from Nabil Bentaleb and Benjamin Andre as Villa won the shoot-out 4-3 to reach the last four, but the Argentine’s involvement was not without controversy.

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Having earlier been booked for timewasting, Martinez was shown a second yellow card during the shoot-out when he taunted the home fans after saving Bentaleb’s kick.

However, much to the confusion of fans and players alike, he was able to stay on the pitch, with IFAB saying bookings from the game are not carried over once penalties begin.

Asked if he thought his goalkeeper had seen red mid-shoot-out, Emery said: “Yes. He is very important for us.

“On the pitch he has his personality and he played fantastically. He saved two penalties so of course I am very proud of him.”

Martinez received a hostile reception from the first whistle in France, where fans are yet to forgive his exuberant celebrations which followed Argentina’s victory over Les Bleus in the 2022 World Cup final.

Emery was pleased with how Martinez handled the jeers, saying: “Yesterday you were all asking me about the reception he will get here in France and you could see it throughout the game.

“He is very experienced and he was trying to control his emotions but the supporters were pushing him. I believe in him and he is mature but with personality. He is always under his own control.”

Villa will face Olympiakos in the last four after the Greek giants overcame Fenerbahce in a shoot-out of their own, but Martinez’s involvement in the first leg – set for May 2 – is in doubt.

Martinez’s two bookings took his total in the competition this season to three, a number which usually carries the punishment of a one-match ban.

UEFA’s disciplinary board is likely to decide whether Martinez will be eligible for that match, with players on two yellow cards or fewer seeing those bookings wiped ahead of the semi-finals.

Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.

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