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Villa Kids Beat Juventus to Win the Cup!


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The young lions once again did their club proud in Seville last night, beating the mighty Juventus on penalties to claim the Peace Cup and 2 million Euros.

As the Villa skipper on the night Nigel Reo-Coker lifted the Peace Cup in the early hours in Seville last night,he was surrounded by players that even most die hard Villa fans would have struggled to recognise a week ago. And yet this Villa team, comprising for the most part reserve and youth players were able to match the Italian giants Juventus for much of the 120 minutes.

Juventus too had left quite a few big names out of their starting line up after Friday's win against Madrid but still fielded a side where most of the faces were familiar. For Villa, the only change from Friday was the introduction of Wiemann for the suspended Heskey as O'Neill persisted with the 4-4-2 formation

It took Villa a little while to get going with Juventus on top early on. Camoranesi and Melo were pulling the strings but still struggling to really make significant headway against a determined and energetic Villa team. The only real chance of note falling to Iaquinta who really should have scored with a free header six yards out.

This seemed to wake Villa up from their sluggish start and the rest of the half very much belonged to Villa. Tournament MVP Ashley Young started to cause panic in the Italian defence who conceded a series of free kicks in dangerous areas and gave up a few chances- a free kick from Carew deflected narrowly wide,a couple of shots from Young forcing Buffon into smart saves,a Carew header over from close range and a great save from the Italian legend to deny the impressive Albrighton.

At the interval the match remained goalless,and you felt looking at the respective benches that we would surely be made to pay for missing so many opportunities. And its true that the second half for long periods was one way traffic towards the Villa goal and yet still chances were relatively few and far between, and what chances there were were spurned by the horribly out of form strike pairing of Iaquinta and Trezeguet. O'Neill threw on Lowry, Herd and Bannan as Villa somehow weathered the storm and looked dangerous on the break ourselves with Bannan and Reo-Coker both firing wide when well placed with Young and Albrighton delivering some really tasty crosses that no-one could quite finish off.

Into extra time and another legend comes into the action in the shape of Allesandro Del Pierro who was joined by Amauri. Not much happened in the strangely truncated extra period and so on we went to penalties.

Brad Guzan was the hero of the hour, making a couple of fine saves including one from Del Pierro that would have won the Cup for Juve but his cocky attempt to roll the ball gently down the centre back fired as Guzan stood up to make the save.

Into sudden death,and Cuellar powered home followed by Legrottaglie blazing over to bring the Cup to Villa Park against all the odds

It has been,despite the injuries a good tournament for Villa. I think special mention should be made of Marc Albrighton who has shown he is ready for a run in the Premiership, Brad Guzan who is showing he is a more than capable understudy to big Brad, and Nigel Reo-Coker,who given a run in his preferred position showed what we have been missing. I certainly hope that him lifting the Peace Cup is not the last we see of him.

We shouldnt get carried away though. our squad is still painfully thin. While it is nice to have won this, and great to know that we have one or two youngsters starting to show promise, we have a 50 match + season coming up and we desperately need an injection of several talented players - we dont really want to be relying on the kids who have reined here in Spain.

O'Neill has no time to rest on his laurels,and I'm sure he has no intention of doing so

VILLA : Guzan; Lichaj-booked 89, Davies, Cuellar, Shorey (Lowry,74); Albrighton, Reo-Coker, Sidwell-booked, A Young; Carew (Herd,91), Weimann (Bannan,74). Not used: Friedel, Parish, Hofbauer, Collins, Gardner.

JUVENTUS: Buffon; Zebina, Legrottaglie, Chiellini-booked, Molinaro (Grygera,40); Camoranesi (Del Piero,90), Melo (booked 27), Marchisio (Zanetti,56); Giovinco (Amauri,91), Iaquinta; Trezeguet. Not used: Cannavaro, Salihamidzic, Chimenti, Manninger, Marrone, Ariaudo, Tiago, Immobile.

PB

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Fine report PB. Nice to see us lift a trophy and this will give a great boost to the players who took part and who responded so well to the challege of taking on the likes of Porto & Juve and then beat both. I thought young Brad did very well with the spot kicks and his policy of waiting to react to the kicks rather than anticpating where they would go worked very well. I thought Reo did well in the captain's role and Albrighton and others showed they may well have a bright future with us. A very good 116 minutes and then a memorable shoot out!

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Nice report Pete. Thoroughly enjoyed the competition. Though I'm sure if we'd gone out after losing to Malaga it'd have been a complete waste of time :)

On such small things as Atlante beating Malaga can careers be launched. I think we'll be seeing a lot more of Brad junior & Albrighton after this one. The 2 of them were absolutely superb throughout.

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Thanks for the report PB as i didn't see the game. Agree 100% with you about needing players. 50+games to play and our present available squad will certainly fall to pieces well before that with injuries!

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