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HomeSportWatkins nets hat-trick as Villa hit Hibs for five

Watkins nets hat-trick as Villa hit Hibs for five


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Ollie Watkins’ devastating hat-trick helped ruthless Aston Villa mark their return to European football with a first-leg Europa Conference League play-off demolition of Hibernian.Hibs hero John McGinn’s Easter Road homecoming dominated much of the pre-match build-up, but England striker Watkins will rightly grab the headlines after a phenomenal display at a sell-out Easter Road. Following a bright start, the Scottish Premiership side could not deal with their clinical Premier League visitors upping the ante as Watkins glanced in a sublime header before nodding in a second at the back post.Leon Bailey then powered in a close-range header of his own to put Villa – regarded as tournament favourites by many – in complete control at the break in their first European game in 13 years.Watkins thought the offside flag had denied him a treble just after the interval, but the VAR reviewed his first-time finish past David Marshall, with Douglas Luiz’s penalty sealing a record-equalling European win for Unai Emery’s side.Next Thursday’s second leg at Villa Park will be about damage limitation for Hibs and Lee Johnson, who watched his side crumble in his 500th game as a manager after his brave attacking line-up briefly rattled the visitors early on.In the opposite dugout, four-time Europa League winner Emery took no chances with his XI, including big-money summer signings Pau Torres and Moussa Diaby starting.But with a boisterous home crowd on top of them, Villa had to weather a short storm from Hibs, which included a weak Martin Boyle volley and an equally tame penalty shout.But after Watkins planted Lucas Digne’s inch-perfect ball into the far corner, it was about how many Villa wanted.They got five, but it could have been nearly double had Marshall not denied Bailey with a fine stop before Diego Carlos and Ezri Konsa both had headers narrowly miss the target.Player of the match – Ollie WatkinsFrance left-back Lucas Digne, who was sensational throughout, can count himself unlucky – but the prize has to go to the England striker, who was a class above and then someBold Hibs undone by unforgiving Villa – analysisHibs fans are not daft. When your side comes up against a club who have spent a reported £80m this summer in comparison to your £1.5m, this result can be expected.Johnson’s XI was brave, as was his approach, but a goal really had to come in those opening exchanges for Hibs to stand a chance before their energy sapped.Against this calibre of opponent, defending has to be flawless and attacking has to be clinical. In a nutshell, that is what Villa demonstrated.Emery said in the build-up to this that he wanted to “write new history” with the 1982 European Cup winners. With the squad at his disposal, and his serial winning mentality at this level, he may well scribe a successful new chapter at Villa Park.What’s next? Both sides return to league action at the weekend before next Thursday’s second leg (20:00 BST) in Birmingham as Hibs host Livingston on Saturday (15:00) and Villa travel to Burnley the following day (14:00).Line-upsHibernianFormation 4-1-4-11Marshall2Miller5Fish4Hanlon16Stevenson32Campbell10Boyle9Vente11Newell21Obita7Youan1Marshall2Miller5Fish4HanlonSubstituted forBushiriat 68’minutes16Stevenson32CampbellSubstituted forDoyle-Hayesat 69’minutes10BoyleBooked at 90mins9VenteSubstituted forDoidgeat 69’minutes11NewellSubstituted forDelferrièreat 88’minutes21ObitaSubstituted forJeggoat 45’minutes7YouanSubstitutes8Doyle-Hayes14Jeggo19Le Fondre23Doidge25Boruc26Harbottle28Delferrière33Bushiri35Molotnikov40McAllister42Megwa44MacIntyreAston VillaFormation 4-2-3-11E Martínez4Konsa3Diego Carlos14P Torres12Digne44Kamara6Douglas Luiz31Bailey19Diaby7McGinn11Watkins1E MartínezSubstituted forOlsenat 45’minutes4KonsaSubstituted forCashat 75’minutes3Diego Carlos14P Torres12DigneBooked at 21mins44KamaraSubstituted forTielemansat 67’minutes6Douglas Luiz31BaileySubstituted forDuránat 69’minutes19Diaby7McGinn11WatkinsSubstituted forTraoréat 69’minutesSubstitutes2Cash8Tielemans9Traoré16Chambers24Durán25Olsen42Marschall56Revan59FeeneyReferee:Ricardo de Burgos BengoetxeaLive TextMatch ends, Hibernian 0, Aston Villa 5.Second Half ends, Hibernian 0, Aston Villa 5.John McGinn (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.Foul by Rocky Bushiri (Hibernian).Attempt blocked. Matty Cash (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Youri Tielemans.Martin Boyle (Hibernian) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.Lucas Digne (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.Foul by Martin Boyle (Hibernian).Attempt missed. Jhon Durán (Aston Villa) left footed shot from more than 35 yards misses to the right. Assisted by John McGinn following a fast break.Offside, Hibernian. Christian Doidge tries a through ball, but Élie Youan is caught offside.Substitution, Hibernian. Allan Delferrière replaces Joe Newell.Foul by Youri Tielemans (Aston Villa).Joe Newell (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the attacking half.Bertrand Traoré (Aston Villa) wins a free kick on the right wing.Foul by Lewis Stevenson (Hibernian).Foul by Jhon Durán (Aston Villa).Rocky Bushiri (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.Offside, Hibernian. Joe Newell tries a through ball, but Élie Youan is caught offside.Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Lewis Miller.Attempt blocked. Lucas Digne (Aston Villa) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Youri Tielemans.Player of the matchWatkinsOllie WatkinsHibernianSquad number1Player nameMarshallSquad number10Player nameBoyleSquad number11Player nameNewellSquad number16Player nameStevensonSquad number9Player nameVenteSquad number5Player nameFishSquad number7Player nameYouanSquad number2Player nameMillerSquad number21Player nameObitaSquad number8Player nameDoyle-HayesSquad number23Player nameDoidgeSquad number32Player nameCampbellSquad number4Player nameHanlonSquad number14Player nameJeggoSquad number33Player nameBushiriSquad number28Player nameDelferrièreAston VillaSquad number11Player nameWatkinsSquad number12Player nameDigneSquad number7Player nameMcGinnSquad number19Player nameDiabySquad number6Player nameDouglas LuizSquad number31Player nameBaileySquad number3Player nameDiego CarlosSquad number44Player nameKamaraSquad number9Player nameTraoréSquad number4Player nameKonsaSquad number14Player nameP TorresSquad number1Player nameE MartínezSquad number2Player nameCashSquad number8Player nameTielemansSquad number25Player nameOlsenSquad number24Player nameDurán

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