'Emery the star of the show as Villa can taste dream finale

May 14, 2024 3:00 pm

[Source: BBC]

The stage was set for Aston Villa to make history as Hollywood superstar and celebrity fan Tom Hanks was paraded pitchside in the unfamiliar role of Champions League cheerleader before the meeting with Liverpool.

Hanks, a well-known celebrity Villa fan and clad in a claret and blue sweater, pointed out at great volume what Unai Emery and his players were on the brink of achieving after a superb season under the Spaniard’s management.

After a night of tension and drama that saw Hanks go through his full range of emotions from undisguised anguish to wild celebration, Emery and Villa can now almost reach out and touch their dream.

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Emery’s side certainly took the scenic route to move a step closer to sealing a place in the Premier League’s top four – a point from a wild 3-3 draw with Liverpool still leaving work to be done but with the goal in sight.

They got part of the way there as a game that started with a truly horrible error from goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez to gift Harvey Elliott a goal concluded with a thunderous grandstand finish in front of the Holte End as two late goals from substitute Jhon Duran earned a vital point, leaving Hanks wildly pumping his fists in delight.

It puts Tottenham Hotspur in the unenviable position of having to beat reigning champions and title-chasing Manchester City at home on Tuesday night to push the race for next season’s Champions League to the final day.

Villa are five points clear of Spurs with one game left and have a significantly superior goal difference. Life looks difficult for Ange Postecoglou and his players now.

What looked like a potentially damaging defeat was celebrated in the manner of a glorious victory, Emery greeted like a conquering hero, grabbing the microphone to deliver a rousing cry of “Up The Villa”, the same message delivered by Hanks prior to the start.

He also told Villa fans: “Today we didn’t finish. The last match is at Crystal Palace on Sunday to get to the end, to play Champions League. This is very important for us, the club, the players, me.”