13 cracking photos of historic night as Villa Park welcomed its first European semi-final in 42 years

In photos: Aston Villa’s European semi-final home leg against Olympiacos at Villa Park.

Aston Villa may have suffered a painful 4-2 defeat to Olympiacos but that didn’t stop fans from enjoying a memorable and historic night under the lights at Villa Park.

The first European semi-final in B6 since 1982 certainly lived up to its billing as six goals were scored, one was disallowed and two penalties were taken. It just happened to be the scoreline wasn’t in the hosts’ favour, not helped by an array of defensive mishaps.

But, regardless of the result, a sea of claret and blue was always bound to take over as supporters from all generations experienced an atmosphere they will never forget.

From hours before kick-off, the crowd was already building outside Villa Park. Children on shoulders; flares being lit; beer cans being sunk in record time. The fan zone was busier than ever before as Villa-themed songs were played by the live band.

It was then all about trying to get the best view possible, eagerly awaiting the arrival of the team bus along Trinity Road. A cloud of pyrotechnic smoke filled the air as Unai Emery and his men arrived at the ground. The magnitude of the occasion was explicit.

Once the match got underway, the noise was almost deafening. The Olympiacos supporters were impressive but their chants were engulfed by over 41,000 loud and proud Villa fans. Even when the visitors went two ahead, the support never wavered.

Then there was a show of ultimate togetherness – and a reminder that there’s more to life than football. Spectators in the lower left corner of the Holte End were urged to evacuate the area to allow an ill supporter to receive medical treatment. Thanks to the remarkably quick work of the paramedics, the fan was taken to hospital in an ambulance.

A superb standing ovation for both the person involved and the staff in assistance followed before the match got back underway.

There was a brief glimpse of hope as Moussa Diaby scored for Villa to bring the score level at 2-2 but Emery’s side fell apart after, allowing Olympiacos to re-establish their two-goal cushion. Some fans left early but most stuck around to show their appreciation to the manager and players. There’s a huge mountain to climb, but it’s still possible.

Here are some of the best photos of a famous night at Villa Park.

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