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Conference League roundup: Villa draw blank at Ajax, Fiorentina win thriller

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Aston Villa played out a goalless draw at Ajax on Thursday in the first leg of their Europa Conference League last-16 tie which also saw both sides finish with 10 men.

"It was a tough game. They are a very good side... It's only half-time (two-leg tie), and so we need to go there and cause a massive upset," said Ajax captain Jordan Henderson.

Ezri Konsa was first shown red for the visitors for a second bookable offence in the 82nd minute, before Ajax's Tristan Gooijer picked up a second yellow four minutes later.

Ajax and Villa struggled to create clear-cut chances and when the hosts did finally get one, Emiliano Martinez was equal to the task with a fine diving save to deny Kenneth Taylor.

The Hungarian capital Budapest played host to a thriller between Maccabi Haifa and Fiorentina, featuring seven goals, a late red card and a stoppage-time winner.

M'Bala Nzola give the visiting Italians the lead after two minutes, but Haifa struck back to lead 2-1 within 30 minutes through Abdoulaye Seck and Gadi Kinda.

Second-half goals from Lucas Beltran and Rolando Mandragora, either side of Anan Khalaili's third for the hosts, meant the tie looked to be heading into the second leg perfectly even.

With 10 minutes remaining, Manuel Cafumana picked up a second yellow for Haifa and the Israeli side could not hold out as a deflected strike from Antonin Barak five minutes into added-time gave Fiorentina a 4-3 win with virtually the last kick of the game.

In-form Canadian striker Jonathan David scored either side of half-time to send Lille on their way at Sturm Graz.

With just under 20 minutes remaining, Edon Zhegrova put the icing on the cake for Paulo Fonseca's side as they head back to France with a 3-0 lead to defend.

Fenerbahce eased to a 3-0 win in Brussels against Union Saint-Gilloise thanks to strikes in both halves from Michy Batshuayi and Jayden Oosterwolde before Dusan Tadic added a penalty in injury-time.

Maccabi Tel Aviv put on an impressive display in the Greek capital to beat Olympiakos 4-1.

Eran Zahavi and Ido Shahar both scored in the opening 10 minutes to give the visitors a 2-0 lead.

Ayoub El Kaabi halved the deficit four minutes later, but on the half-hour mark Zahavi struck again and Dor Peretz added a fourth in the second half.

A Fredrik Gulbrandsen winner two minutes into injury-time gave Molde a 2-1 first-leg lead against Club Brugge, cancelling out Maxim de Cuyper's late penalty after Halldor Stenevik's opener.

Dinamo Zagreb beat Greece's PAOK 2-0 at home courtesy of goals either side of half-time from Bruno Petkovic.

It ended goalless in Geneva between Servette and Viktoria Plzen with it all to play for in the return leg on March 14.

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