Aston Villa made a poor start to a first European campaign in 13 years as some appalling defending allowed Legia Warsaw to get the better of them in their Europa Conference League group opener.
Returning to continental competition thanks to a stunning run of form in the second half of last season, the former European champions looked good going forward but continually gave Legia a leg up at the other end.
The tone was set after just three minutes as Pawel Wszolek was allowed to get ahead of his marker to slot a low cross home before Jhon Duran made amends by heading home after Nicolo Zaniolo’s shot had been pushed on to the bar by home keeper Kacper Tobiasz.
Again, though, Legia were invited on, with Ernest Muci left alone to charge in, latch on to Wzsolek’s cross and fire home.
Lucas Digne’s deflected strike cancelled that out but the defensive horror show from the Premier League side continued after the break as Legia were gifted possession and Muti given all the room he needed to fire a superb low shot inside the far bottom corner.
This time Villa had no response.
In fact, they could easily have lost by more had Emiliano Martinez not pulled off some fine saves, including to deny Bartosz Slisz before Calum Chambers cleared Marc Gual’s follow up off the line.
Jacob Ramsey – making his return from injury – had a great chance to nick a point, but lashed a shot wide before Leon Bailey fires into the side-netting in added time.
Villa’s next European game is on 5 October when they host Zrinjski Mostar, who beat Alkmaar 4-3 in Group E’s other game on Thursday.