Villa not go­ing down with­out a fight

The Irish Times - Monday - Sport - - Soccer -

Trezeguet 45, 59

As­ton Villa are not go­ing to go down with­out a fightl. They started slowly but ended up rel­a­tively ram­pant, fully de­serv­ing of the three points se­cured by two goals from Mah­moud Trezeguet. It has been a long time since a Villa for­ward scored one goal, let alone a pair, so Dean Smith’s side were grate­ful for the Egyp­tian’s sharp­ness, which ended a streak of 10 league games with­out a win.

Villa are still in the rel­e­ga­tion zone but only four points be­low West Ham and Wat­ford. Their re­main­ing matches are against Ever­ton, Ar­se­nal and West Ham. They can­not count on any of them be­ing as vul­ner­a­ble as a Palace side who sagged to their fifth straight de­feat.

The game had a more se­date pace than might have been ex­pected from a clash with such high stakes for Villa. Palace even had the ball in the net in the sev­enth minute when Ma­madou Sakho redi­rected a free-kick into the net. But the goal was dis­al­lowed af­ter VAR ruled he had used his arm rather than his shoul­der.

Villa then took charge of their destiny. Ahmed El­mo­hamady made sev­eral raids down the right, but Jack Gre­al­ish and

Mb­wana Sa­matta both failed to find the net af­ter dan­ger­ous crosses by the full back.

Most of the play got bogged down in mid­field. Wil­fried Zaha oc­ca­sion­ally emerged from the morass to threaten a break­through but Pepe Reina saved his best ef­fort.

Just as the game seemed to be trundling to­wards the in­ter­val, Villa got the goal they badly needed. Af­ter a foul on Gre­al­ish, Conor Houri­hane curled over a free-kick from the left, Joel Ward could only head it back­wards, and Trezeguet tucked it into the net at the far post, be­com­ing the first Villa for­ward to score in the league since early Fe­bru­ary.

Villa thought they had got the sec­ond half off to a per­fect start when they were awarded a spot-kick af­ter Pa­trick van Aan­holt tan­gled in the box with Gre­al­ish, but this time VAR’s in­ter­ven­tion went against them and the de­ci­sion was over­turned.

Villa did not dwell on that. They kept at­tack­ing. Vicente Guaita was forced into a fly­ing save from a free-kick by Houri­hane, and Konsa came close to scor­ing from the re­sul­tant cor­ner. Then Trezeguet struck again, fin­ish­ing neatly. – Guardian

As­ton Villa

Crys­tal Palace



Vardy 24

Do­minic Solanke ended his Premier League goal drought with a timely brace as Bournemout­h boosted their slim sur­vival hopes by fight­ing back in as­ton­ish­ing fash­ion to shock Cham­pi­ons League-chas­ing Le­ices­ter.

Solanke, with­out a goal in 38 pre­vi­ous top-flight ap­pear­ances since a move from Liver­pool in Jan­uary 2019, slot­ted home twice in the sec­ond half as the Cher­ries romped to a pre­cious 4-1 win.

■ Mah­moud Trezeguet’s goals ended a run of 10 league games with­out a win

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