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Fans pinpoint moment of ‘biggest ripple effect’ as Villa clinch CL place


FOOTBALL fans have identified an incorrect decision by goal-line technology as the “ripple effect” moment that led to Aston Villa’s Champions League qualification.

Unai Emery‘s men booked their spot in Europe’s elite competition for the first time in 41 years on Tuesday night following Tottenham’s 2-0 defeat to Manchester City.

A goal-line technology error proved crucial in keeping Aston Villa up in 2020


A goal-line technology error proved crucial in keeping Aston Villa up in 2020Credit: EPA
Villa have sealed Champions League qualification for next season


Villa have sealed Champions League qualification for next seasonCredit: Getty

But Villa‘s meteoric rise under their Spanish coach may never have taken place had one incorrect decision gone the other way four years ago.

In the first Premier League game after the Covid outbreak, Villa hosted Sheffield United on Wednesday June 17, 2020.

The match ended goalless, but a controversial moment occurred when Villa keeper Orjan Nyland allowed the ball to drop behind the line from Oli Norwood’s free-kick in the 42nd minute.

To the eye the ball clearly seemed in, but the referee’s watch did not flash to signal a goal.

The Hawk-Eye system later apologised for the error, insisting they “unreservedly apologise” for the mistake.

To make matters worse, Villa then went on to avoid relegation by just ONE POINT as they narrowly finished above Bournemouth and Watford.

Had the Sheffield United goal been awarded and Villa gone on to lose, they would still have finished above the drop zone on goals scored.

But it is impossible to say if a defeat in that game could have led to their relegation.


Reacting to the sliding doors moment, one fan said: “Biggest football ripple effect in a long time…”

Another added: “Even God loves the Villa. 🙏”

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While a third replied: “Been thinking about this ever since they got into Conference League.

“Watford should have stayed up over Villa just because of that one goal. Look at the gap between them now 😳.”

As it was, Villa stayed up and have gone from strength to strength in the last two seasons.

The following campaigns saw them place 11th and 14th, before they clinched seventh last season and a Europa Conference League place.

Then in the 2023/24 campaign they have improved once more, securing fourth above Tottenham and reaching the Conference League semi-finals.

The last time Villa were in Europe’s premier competition came back in the 1982/83 season, one year after they lifted the trophy.


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