Express & Star

Aston Villa in the Champions League – Haaland sends Villa into dreamland

Aston Villa will play in next season’s Champions League after Tottenham were beaten by title-chasing Manchester City.


Unai Emery’s team can no longer be caught in fourth place with their place in Europe’s elite club competition secured with one match of the season still remaining.

It marks a tremendous achievement for Emery and his players, with the Spaniard having dramatically revived the club’s fortunes since taking charge in November 2022.

Villa are now guaranteed their highest league finish since 1996 and have already racked up their best points tally in a 38-match season since 1990.

With it comes the prize of a return to Europe’s top club competition for the first time since the 1982-83 season – and the first since the European Cup was rebranded and expanded as the Champions League.

Monday’s dramatic 3-3 draw with Liverpool, when substitute Jhon Duran scored two late goals to salvage a point, meant Tottenham needed to beat City to retain any chance of overhauling Villa on the season’s final day.

Erling Haaland’s second-half double was enough to put City top of the Premier League going into the final weekend of the season.

And it also confirmed Villa’s place among European football’s elite next season.

City’s 2-0 win at Spurs last night means Villa go into their final game of the season at Crystal Palace on Sunday in party mood.

n Reports in Italy suggested last night that Nicolo Zaniolo could miss the European Championships with Italy after suffering a foot injury after coming on as a substitute for Villa on Monday. He limped off and it was reported that he may have suffered a broken foot.

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