Gutsy Hibs set up Villa tie with draw in Luzern


Luzern's Pius Dorn (L) and Hibernian's Elie Youan in action during a UEFA Conference League Qualifier between FC Luzern and Hibernian at the Swissporarena, on August 17, 2023, in Lucerne, Switzerland.

Hibernian put in a gutsy display to claim a draw away in Luzern and set up a mouth-watering Europa Conference League play-off meeting with Aston Villa.

Leading 3-1 from the first leg at Easter Road, Lee Johnson’s side increased their lead early when Elie Youan drove forward and looped a shot into the net.

But, backed on by a raucous home crowd which aggressively roared them on, Luzern levelled six minutes later after Lars Villiger tucked away a cutback amid some confusion in the Hibs defence.

The Swiss side took firm control from that moment on, finally reducing the aggregate deficit to one goal after substitute Kemal Ademi headed in from a corner.

It seemed inevitable that the hosts would find at least the goal they needed to force extra time, before some brilliance from Youan effectively ensured Hibs’ safe passage through.

The forward got to a long ball before defender Marco Burch, and surged into the box, before teeing up Martin Boyle to finish from close range and level the match with 17 minutes left.

It sparked bedlam among the 1,000 travelling Hibs fans and drained the life from the rowdy home crowd, as well as the Luzern players.

Hibs did the rest of their defensive work with full-blooded commitment, and their reward for a fantastic performance is the visit of a Premier League side next week with a place in the group stage at stake.

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