With Tottenham bowing out in humbling fashion to the impressive Sporting Lisbon Villa were carrying the English flag for Wednesday’s ties.
The news before the game was not good. Mikey Drennan, who is the top-scorer in the competition this season, was ruled out of the game with a foot injury. Villa therefore turned to Callum Robinson to lead the line for them in this crunch tie.
However Olympiakos have their own danger-men. Left sided player Babis Lykogiannisis a full senior player while defender Leandro has been one of the tournaments best players.
Villa were made to panic early on when Erythrolefki had the first chance of the game. One of the brightest sparks on the Greek side Georgias Lyras was played through but his shot was dragged wide.
Samir Carruthers was, as ever, the Villa player who grabbed the bull-by-the-horns and started to get on the ball in an attempt to dictate play. His elegant run set up Robinson for a moment of glory but his effort was eventually handled by Greek stopper Eleftheridis Choutesiotis.
But it was not long before Villa grabbed the one and only goal of the game after 12 minutes. It was the winger Graham Burke who grabbed the goal. He met a cross from the right with a precision volley from 10 yards to give Villa what proved to be an unassailable lead.
Villa continued to play well throughout the tie with chances falling to Josh Barton, Jack Grealish and Robinson of which no killer blow was found.
Olympiakos had their chances. Emmanuel Siopis saw his effort saved by Bradley Watkins and a mistake by Carruthers should have been punished by the usually potent Nikos Ioannidis; fortunately for Villa he dragged his effort wide and that was as close as the Greek side came to spoiling a deserved party in The Midlands.
Villa now join Chelsea and Sporting Lisbon as confirmed teams for the semi-final line-up in Como, Italy; with either Arsenal or CSKA Moscow joining them depending on the result of their game this coming Monday.
Here are some Tweets from ecstatic Villa players…
Wow is all I can say about you villa fans tonight, you guys were unreal! Support was amazing!!!! Finals in Italy here we come!! #AVFC— Jack Grealish (@JackGrealish1) March 20, 2013
By the way what a team performance ! #LoveMyTeam— Callum Robinson (@CallumRobinson7) March 20, 2013
WE'RE GOING TO ITALY— Bradley Lewis (@BradleyLewis27) March 20, 2013
So buzzing through to the semi finals beat olympiakos 1-0 lake coma here we come legs are in absolute bits !!— Lewis Kinsella (@Lewis_kinsella) March 20, 2013
Thanks to all the fans that was at the game ! Support was unbelievable ! Hearing you singing the songs great feeling !— Lewis Kinsella (@Lewis_kinsella) March 20, 2013
Can Aston Villa be crowned champions?
image: © ell brown