BIRMINGHAM: Goals from Ollie Watkins and John McGinn gave Aston Villa a narrow first-leg lead over Lille in their Europa Conference League quarter-final as Unai Emery marked his 1,000th game as a manager.

Watkins scored in the 13th minute, left unmarked in the box to head in from a McGinn corner.

Leon Bailey then played the ball to McGinn from a corner and he doubled the lead with a fierce strike into the bottom corner in the 56th minute.

With six minutes remaining, Lille got a goal back as Bafode Diakite flicked in a header from Angel Gomes’ cross.

Trailing 2-0, Lille thought they had got back into the game in the 67th minute but Gabriel Gudmundsson’s finish at the back post was ruled out for offside after a lengthy review.

Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez was in inspired form, denying Gudmundsson from a tight angle and getting down low to save Jonathan David’s effort on goal.

In stoppage time, Lille substitute Yusuf Yazici curled just wide of the top corner as Villa endured a nervy end to the game, having been in control for the majority of the contest.

The second leg takes place next Thursday (17:45 BST) as Lille look to overturn the one-goal deficit at Stade Pierre Mauroy.