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Villa win 3-1 and move into Peace Cup semis


BOF
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Aston Villa pulled off a minor miracle this evening when they came from a goal down to win 3-1 in a very entertaining game at La Rosaleda and book their place in the semi finals against either FC Porto or Besiktas.

Villa went into the game knowing they needed to win by 2 clear goals and they looked all but dead & buried in the 20th minute when the unimpressive Curtis Davies put the ball past his own keeper after the Mexicans had beaten Lichaj down the left. Davies had earlier put his team in trouble when he messed up a routine pass only for Cuéllar to get us out of trouble. Lichaj was being targetted early on as the Mexicans clearly thought he was the weak point in the Villa defence.

The Mexicans were on top of a Villa who looked barely improved from the side who lost with barely a whimper to Malaga on Saturday. And it was Maldonado who had a great chance to put the game beyond Villa soon afterwards but his shot grazed the outside of the upright when he lookd odds on to score.

In hindsight that turned out to be a pivotal miss.

Atlante's play-acting was clearly getting to Martin O'Neill who let his thoughts be known to a player who dived too close to the Irishman and it was one moan too many for Martin who was promptly sent to the stands by the referee, though not before letting his thoughts clearly be known to the 4th official.

Petrov then injured his left arm in an awkward challenge for the ball and was replaced by youngster Marc Albrighton who proceeded to stake his claim as a bit of a player!

It was Albrighton who equalised in the 38th minute when he pounced on a poor parry from Vilar to rocket in a very tricky diagonal shot. He somehow managed to get over the ball and keep his strike down giving the Argentinian keeper no chance.

Half time came and went with no changes and Villa went in front in the 48th minute when some hilarious keystone cops defending was punished by the imperious John Carew. The 2 centrebacks contrived to lay the ball off to the striker who nonchalantly passed it beyond the despairing dive of the keeper and into the net.

Things were now balanced very interestingly and the Mexicans were noticeably rattled. Their composure turned to nervousness and edgyness. Villa looked in total control and it only got worse for Atlante when they inexplicably substituted the impressive Maldonado.

In the 62nd minute Marc Albrighton raced down the right wing and sent a cross into the 6 yard box that just evaded a defenders head. The diminutive Ashley Young somehow managed to extend himself and score a very impressive unorthodox diving header into the goalkeepers top right corner and send the hardcore Villa fans into rapture.

Nigel Reo-Coker was now running the show in the centre of the park in Petrov's absence and revelling in his role of captain. Showing the NRC of old.

Atlante by this stage were showing very little and badly missing their influential Venezuelan up front.

After some non-threatening huffing and puffing by the out-of-ideas Mexicans in the centre of the park, the game came to a comfortable close for Villa who now wait to see if they will face FC Porto or Besiktas of Turkey in the Peace Cup.

At the very least it's €500,000 in the bank for a few days work.

Well done to the boys. You just couldn't see it happening after the Malaga game!!

Up the Villa !

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....does'nt surprise me the comments regarding NRC.....play him in his indigenous position and restore his confidence ( by running with the player instead of dropping him after the odd error) and we may have a new player on our hands.

Nigel is very a passionate player and is also very sensitive.... If Martin is the man motivator he implies, he should rebuild this lads confidence and i think we will all be shocked in the possible outcome.... just like with petrov.

we must be mad if we sell him.

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Good write up BOF - the only thing you missed I feel was Guzan, who looked very impressive; confident, commanded his area well (NIGE! NIGE! THERE! AWAYYYY!! UPP! :lol: ) and made some great saves.

Albrighton looked awesome, I must say.

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Anywhere to see the the highlights yet lads. I only saw the OG then had to go out.

Great result and i thought NRC looked mint within the first 20 mins tbh. Sometimes i dont know how he ends up with ball at his feet. He loves a battle.

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