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Wednesday, 31 July, 2002, 20:21 GMT 21:21 UK
Villa share spoils in France
Ian Taylor grabbed the all-important away goal
Taylor grabbed the all-important away goal
Lille 1-1 Aston Villa

A last-gasp goal denied Aston Villa victory in their Intertoto Cup semi-final first leg match in Lille.

Midfielder Ian Taylor looked to have won it for Villa just seven minutes from time when he scored from close range following a corner.

But Fernando D'Amico levelled in the closing moments to leave the tie finely balanced ahead of the return.

Graham Taylor's side will now have to hope that having at least scored an away goal in Lille they can make home advantage count in the second leg on 8 August.

Villa nearly got off to a dream start after just four minutes when Peter Crouch found the back of the net, but the goal was disallowed.

The assistant referee adjudged the ball to have already gone out of play before Thomas Hitzlsperger's right-wing cross came in.

Lille finally found their way into the game and had their first effort on goal thanks to a Philippe Brunel free-kick but goalkeeper Stefan Postma, making his debut in place of the injured Peter Enckelman, dealt with it comfortably.

The French side looked a little short of ideas, following the departure of Bruno Cheyrou to Liverpool and Pascal Cygan to Arsenal, and it was Brunel who provided most of their inspiration.

The 29-year-old attacking midfielder should have given the hosts the lead after 33 minutes but his lob drifted wide of the upright.

Marcus Allback looked dangerous in tandem with Crouch and missed a great opportunity to open the scoring 10 minutes before the interval.

The final action of the half saw Brunel firing just wide after Postma had rushed off his line to deny Mile Sterjovski.

It was Villa who were on the attack immediately after the break when Allback dragged a left-foot shot just wide of the target only three minutes in, after linking up well with Crouch.

Sterjovski went close for the home side in the 51st minute when he raced onto a through ball from D'Amico, but could only find the side netting.

Villa were next to go close, but Gregory Wimbee in the Lille goal had no trouble saving Hitzlsperger's 68th minute free-kick.

In the 83rd minute Villa got the breakthrough they had been looking for.

Olof Mellberg connected well with a corner from Hitzlsperger but saw his header parried by Wimbee, and Taylor pounced to poke the ball home.

That was the spur Lille needed as they pushed forward for the equaliser and they forced two good saves from Postma.

In the dying moments D'Amico latched onto Hector Tapia's free-kick, slotting the ball past Postma to leave the second leg finely poised.

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27 Jul 02 | Aston Villa
30 Jul 02 | Aston Villa
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