Aston Villa boss Unai Emery knows his side have plenty of work to do in next week’s Europa Conference League quarter-final second leg in Lille.

Villa will travel to France with a 2-1 advantage thanks to first-leg goals from Ollie Watkins and John McGinn gave the on-looking Prince of Wales something to cheer about.

But Lille showed they are no pushovers and Bafode Diakite’s late header kept the tie alive after they had been repelled by an impressive performance from Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez.

Villa must now go to northern France next week and finish the job if they are to make their first European semi-final since they won the European Cup in 1982.

That will not be an easy task as the French football federation have postponed Lille’s Ligue 1 game this weekend to give them extra time to prepare and they have only been beaten once at home all season.

Emery, who celebrated his 1,000th game as a manager, said: “Difficult match, we are ready to play another 90 minutes, we played the first 90 minutes, we didn’t control the game like we wanted and defensively we were doing more work than we prepared for because we wanted to control the game with our positioning.

“With the respect we have got for them, they showed it.

“The result is tight, but more or less it was a fine for both teams. Now another 90 minutes, enjoy playing in Europe, enjoy playing a quarter-final.

“Be ready to play 90 minutes, even extra time, even a penalty shootout because now it is in this moment everything is difficult.”

Lille boss Paulo Fonseca, who almost took over at Newcastle and Tottenham in the last few years, felt Watkins’ goal should have been disallowed for a foul by Morgan Rogers on Ismally.

“I don’t understand what is going on, it was a foul on the first goal,” he said.

“I understand it is difficult for the referee with VAR it is just incredible they miss these things. It’s not good what is going on in football, the referees must look at what is going on in the moment.

“A lot of matches, it is not football, it is blocking like in basketball. The first goal was a clear foul, a clear block. Being physical is one thing, fouling is another.”

However, after the way they created chances at Villa Park, Fonseca knows the tie is very much alive.

“We created the opportunity to get a better result,” he added. “I’m satisfied with the courage of my players but at the end of the day, we’ve lost.

“I know that it’s difficult match, they’ve got great players, a great coach and a lot of experience so they have certain advantages but I must continue to believe it’s possible.”

The Prince of Wales has paid tribute to former Wales and British and Irish Lions full-back JPR Williams.

William, patron of the Welsh Rugby Union, posted a personal post – denoted with a W at the end of his message – in honour of Williams, who has died at the age of 74.

The prince said on X, formerly known as Twitter: “There was no one quite like him on the rugby field. A true @WelshRugbyUnion great, my thoughts are with JPR Williams’ family and friends. W.”

Williams, a fearless player known for his aggressive and attacking style, won 55 Wales caps and started all eight Tests on victorious Lions tours to New Zealand in 1971 and South Africa three years later.

He was revered among fellow Wales greats like Sir Gareth Edwards, Barry John, Phil Bennett and Gerald Davies and regarded as one of rugby union’s finest players.

A star performer during Welsh rugby’s 1970s golden era, he also captained his country on five occasions.

And Williams shone for the Barbarians in their unforgettable 23-11 victory over New Zealand in 1973, touching down in a game chiefly remembered for Edwards’ spectacular touchdown that completed a breathtaking length-of-the-field move.

Welsh Rugby Union president Terry Cobner, who played alongside Williams for Wales during two Five Nations Grand Slam-winning campaigns, saluted his contribution to the sport.

“Welsh rugby will remember him as one of our greatest players of all-time – those 55 caps, three Grand Slams and six Triple Crowns prove that,” Cobner said, on the WRU’s official website.

“He also played in all eight Tests in New Zealand and South Africa on arguably the two greatest tours undertaken by the Lions in 1971 and 1974.

“It was his drop-goal from near halfway that enabled the 1971 Lions to draw the fourth Test and win the series 2-1 against the mighty All Blacks – the only series victory by the Lions on New Zealand soil.

“A star in the making from his early school days at Bridgend Grammar, then at Millfield, he went on to thrill crowds at both London Welsh and Bridgend on the club scene. He was ‘box office’ wherever he went.

“This is a terrible loss for our game, but obviously an even worse loss for his wife, Scilla, and their three four children.

“The thoughts of the whole Welsh rugby family are with them at this difficult time.”

There were also tributes on social media from Wales’ Six Nations rivals Scotland and Ireland.

“JPR, the three most famous letters in sport if you lived in the 1970s,” Scottish Rugby said on X.

“Scottish Rugby extends its sincere condolences to family and friends of JPR Williams – and the rugby community in Wales – after the death of the former Wales and Lions full-back was announced yesterday.”

And Irish Rugby said on X: “A joy to watch on the field and a gentleman off it. Rest in peace JPR Williams.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family.”

Such was Williams’ natural fitness that he continued playing into his early 50s for village club Tondu, often in the back-row, before finally hanging up his boots in 2003.

“We are devastated to share the news our club patron JPR Williams has passed away,” Tondu Rugby Club said on X.

“John was one of our game’s greatest players and will be missed by all at Tondu RFC. Our thoughts and prayers are with John’s family and close friends at this incredibly sad time.”

The Prince of Wales has praised the “brave and inspirational” Dele Alli for speaking out about his mental health struggles after he revealed he was sexually abused as a child.

In an emotional interview, Alli told how he was “molested” as a six-year-old and was dealing drugs aged eight, while he also spoke about alcohol problems, sleeping pill addiction and addressing his mental health issues by spending six weeks in a rehab clinic.

The 27-year-old said he had contemplated hanging up his boots three years ago before leaving Tottenham for Everton in 2022, prompting an outpouring of support with Prince William, the NSPCC and England captain Harry Kane among those to applaud him.

In a personal tweet, William wrote: “Brave and inspirational @dele_official. Discussing mental health is not a sign of weakness. Let’s keep the conversation going.

“We’re all with you and we wish you the very best. W.”

The NSPCC praised Alli’s courage and voiced the hope that his bravery would encourage others in a similar position to seek help.

A spokesperson said: “Dele Alli has shown great courage in revealing the abuse he suffered in his childhood. Speaking out on sexual abuse whenever it happened can be very daunting with survivors sometimes feeling guilt, shame or confusion.

“The impact of child sexual abuse can be devastating, and can continue into adulthood. It’s crucial that the safety and protection of all children remains a clear priority for all those in positions of authority.

“We hope that Dele Alli is receiving the support he needs and that his bravery in speaking out will encourage others who are in a similar position to do the same and will reassure them that they are not alone and there are people here to support them.”

Alli made just 13 appearances for Everton before joining Besiktas on loan last season, but is now back at Goodison Park.

Alli spoke out in an interview with Gary Neville on a special edition of The Overlap podcast in partnership with Sky Bet, which was released on Thursday morning.

“The club has been supporting Dele in both his return to fitness and overcoming the personal challenges highlighted in his interview with The Overlap,” an Everton spokesperson said.

“Everyone at Everton respects and applauds Dele’s bravery to speak about the difficulties he has faced, as well as seek the help required.

“The physical and mental welfare of all our players is of paramount importance.

“The club takes very seriously its responsibility in protecting the confidentiality of players and staff.

“Dele will not be conducting any further interviews in relation to his rehabilitation, and we ask that his privacy is respected while he continues his recuperation from injury and receives the full care and support needed for his physical and mental well-being.”

England skipper Kane, a former team-mate of Alli’s at Spurs, retweeted a clip from the interview, posting: “Proud of @dele_official for speaking out and sharing his experience to try and help others.”

Gary Lineker tweeted: “This is very powerful and brave. Good luck to you @dele_official.”

The Professional Footballers’ Association also issued a statement on Twitter in response to Alli’s interview.

“It’s incredibly brave of Dele to tell his story with such honesty in this important interview with @GNev2 (Neville),” the PFA said.

“Hearing Dele speak with such openness will make a difference, and his desire to use his own experiences to act as an inspiration to others – inside and outside of football – is something he should be extremely proud of.”

Anti-discrimination organisation Kick It Out added: “What a powerful and incredibly brave interview. To open up and share his story in the hope of helping others is humbling and inspiring.

“It also shows that sometimes you just don’t know what’s going on in someone’s life. #BeKind”

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