Emi Martinez banned for first leg of Aston Villa’s semi-final against Olympiacos

Emiliano Martinez of Aston Villa during the penalty shoot-out during the UEFA Europa Conference League 2023/24 Quarter-final second leg match between Lille OSC and Aston Villa at Stade Pierre-Mauroy on April 18, 2024 in Lille, France. 

Aston Villa Hero Emiliano Martinez will miss the Europa Conference League semi-final first leg against Olympiacos.

The Argentina international saved two penalties in the 4-3 quarter-final shootout victory over Lille, but received a yellow card after firstly being warned for baiting the home crowd and then requesting a ball, the latter of which the referee apparently deemed to be further gamesmanship.

That was Martinez’s second yellow card of the game but he was able to continue in the shootout because cards received during normal play do not carry over into penalties.

However, after also picking up a booking in the first leg against Lille, Martinez’s three yellows in quick succession will see him miss the semi-final first leg with Greek side Olympiacos on 2 May on the totting-up process.

The World Cup winner, who produced heroics against France in the 2022 final in Qatar, will be a big miss, with Unai Emery calling him the best goalkeeper in the world.

“To say something about this is when he’s being successful individually and collectively with his club here at Aston Villa and his national team,” boss Unai Emery said.

“He’s being successful with Argentina, he’s being successful and progressively getting better here with Aston Villa.

“And individually he’s being successful because he’s saving a lot of matches as a goalkeeper.

“Of course, he’s one of the best goalkeepers in the world – the first, the second, the third.

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Villa will have a quick turnaround after playing 120 minutes in northern France on Thursday, with Bournemouth’s visit to Villa Park on Sunday.

Emery will assess his side after Saturday’s training session to see how they recover, with Nicolo Zaniolo going off injured in the first half against Lille.

Alex Moreno, Emiliano Buendia, Jacob Ramsey, Tyrone Mings and Boubacar Kamara are definitely out.

“Alex Moreno, Mings, Buendia, Ramsey are still unavailable,” Emery added. “I think no more. After the match we played yesterday, we will have to wait and then decide.”

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