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Wednesday, 7 August, 2002, 21:14 GMT 22:14 UK
Villa crash out to Lille
Abdelilah Fahmi celebrates scoring for Lille
Abdelilah Fahmi (right) celebrates scoring for Lille
Aston Villa 0-2 Lille (1-3 on aggregate)

Aston Villa's hope of playing European football next season ended on a rain-sodden night in Birmingham.

Lille scored on either side of half-time and will now play German side VfB Stuttgart for a place in the Uefa Cup.

We had our chances in the first half but you have got to convert them
Graham Taylor

But Villa boss Graham Taylor - who feared participating in the Intertoto Cup could lead to player burn-out - must now pick his players up with the new Premiership season just 10 days away.

Villa started well, with Lille goalkeeper Gregory Wimbee forced into early saves from Peter Crouch and Darius Vassell.

Crouch then found himself completely unmarked in the Lille penalty area, but although his cross-shot eluded Wimbee, defender Rafael Schmitz was able to clear the danger.

And with half-time looming Lille took a shock lead.

Abdelilah Fahmi drilled a low free-kick from 25 yards out, which took a wicked deflection off the Villa defensive wall and left keeper Peter Enckelman stranded.

That was a big enough blow for the home side - but within 35 seconds of the second half Lille doubled their lead.

Enckelman could not hold Phillipe Brunel's shot and the ball rebounded to Nicolas Bonnal - who made no mistake.

Villa tried to retaliate with Staunton sending a glancing header just wide and Vassell and Crouch volleying over when presented with half-chances.

Goalkeeper Peter Enckelman after Villa's defeat to Lille
Enckelman walks off after defeat to Lille
Lille also had a slice of luck when a free-kick from substitute Moustapha Hadji was pushed onto the crossbar by Wimbee, who saw the rebound fall straight back into his hands.

But at the other end Enckelman and Olof Mellberg got into a tangle and left Brunel with a shot at goal, only for the Lille player to shoot wide.

Sylvain N'Diaye was sent off in the 89th minute after becoming involved in a flare-up following a foul on Wimbee by Vassell, but it was small consolation for Villa.

Aston Villa: Enckelman, Delaney, Barry, Staunton, Allback, Mellberg, Hitzlsperger, Taylor, Vassell, Dublin (Hendrie 46), Crouch (Moore 80).
Subs Not Used: Hadji, Postma, Boulding, Samuel, Ridgewell.

Booked: Moore.

Lille: Wimbee, Fahmi, Schmitz, Bonnal (Cheyrou 63), Brunel (Boutoille 68), Moussilou (Sterjovski 83), Tafforeau, Chalme, Delpierre, Landrin, N'Diaye.
Subs Not Used: Tapia, Pichot, D'Amico.

Sent Off: N'Diaye (89).

Booked: N'Diaye, Boutoille, Sterjovski.

Attendance: 25,000

Referee: Paulo Costa (Portugal).

BBC Five Live's Ian Dennis
"Villa ran out of ideas"
Aston Villa boss Graham Taylor
"It probably wasn't meant to be"
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07 Aug 02 | Football
31 Jul 02 | Aston Villa
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