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Villa Park (ATT 35,809) 9th November 2013 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: Dean Whitestone

A Villa Aston Villa vs Cardiff City Cardiff

A Villa 2

L Bacuna (76)
L Kozak (84)

ft

Premier League: Aston Villa claimed a 2-0 win over Cardiff City at Villa Park

By Graeme Bailey - Tweet me: @graemebailey.   Last Updated: 09/11/13 6:57pm

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Leandro Bacuna: Opened the scoring for Villa

Leandro Bacuna: Opened the scoring for Villa

Late goals from Leandro Bacuna and Libor Kozak gave Aston Villa a much-needed win over Cardiff City at Villa Park.

Villa had not won since their success over Manchester City in September, but they got back to winning ways in what was a largely forgettable contest in the west Midlands.

The opening goal came with just 14 minutes left and it was the one moment of real class during the match.

Best of the Match:

  • Man of the Match: Leandro Bacuna - both full-backs were excellent for Villa and the Dutchman's free-kick edges it for him.
  • Goal of the Match: Stunning free-kick from Bacuna to set Villa on their way to victory.
  • Save of the Match: Great save from David Marshall from Libor Kozak early in the second-half.
  • Talking point: Christian Benteke's goal drought continues, does he need a rest?

As Bacuna lined up his free-kick, Villa had at that point gone seven-and-half hours without a goal in the Premier League but he made no mistake as he curled the ball past the wall into the corner as David Marshall could only watch on.

To that point neither keeper had been very busy, although Marshall had produced one excellent save from Kozak before the Czech did manage to beat the Scotland international late on to seal the points for the home side.

With six minutes left, as Cardiff failed to clear their lines, Matt Lowton headed the ball back into the six-yard box and Kozak rose to head home.

Prior to that late action it had been an unedifying affair all round, with Villa booed off by their own fans at the interval.

The hosts began with plenty of attacking intent, Kozak's header drawing a good save from Marshall after just a minute - though an offside flag would have cancelled it out regardless.

Marshall was less assured when Karim El Ahmadi tested him from 25 yards, palming the ball back into the danger in front of goal with Christian Benteke sniffing around.

Luckily for the visitors Steven Caulker was a fraction quicker off the mark than the Belgian and cleared the danger.

Caulker was also the unlikely originator of Cardiff's first real attack, carrying the ball towards the edge of the Villa area before chipping a pass towards Aron Gunnarsson.

Villa might have conceded had Peter Odemwingie got a clean connection with his attempted volley but, when it bobbled away from the Nigerian, Ron Vlaar slid in to avert the danger.

Gary Medel's floated free-kick then drew Kozak into a defensive header that wrong-footed Brad Guzan and flashed across the face of his own goal.

Benteke, still looking for the inspiration that was ever-present last season, had one further sight of goal but shot wide having ignored Aleksandar Tonev's intelligent run.

When the sides went in for the break there was an audible, though hardly deafening, chorus of boos from the home support.

Nathan Baker's body check on Odemwingie 25 yards out gave Cardiff the first chance to spark the game into life after the break and former Villa man Peter Whittingham stood over the free-kick.

Villa performance delights Lambert

He whipped the ball across the area but none of his team-mates were able to get a boot to it.

Villa countered and went closer than ever to an opening goal as Bacuna's cross found Kozak at the far post and Marshall produced a fine save to tip it wide.

Malky Mackay had seen enough of Odemwingie after just 55 minutes and sent on Fraizer Campbell, whose high-energy style at least provided a sharp contrast to the man he had replaced.

Benteke then had two headers in the space of 10 minutes from positions he would typically fancy but on each occasion his radar was off and he failed to hit the target.

Mackay takes pride from defeat

Bacuna, moved into midfield as part of a tactical reshuffle which saw Lowton come on, rescued the game from stalemate.

He powered into the Cardiff half and was heading towards the penalty box when Medel cynically pulled him back.

But that merely delayed the danger as Bacuna curled the resulting free-kick round the wall, leaving Marshall flat-footed as the ball hit the net.

Villa made the points safe when Kozak claimed his second goal for the club, heading home after a period of untidy defending by the Bluebirds.

Tonev's initial cross was not cleared, allowing Lowton to head back towards Kozak, who applied the finishing touch from six yards.

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Matches

Table

Barclays Premier League

Barclays Premier League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Liverpool 35 80
2 Chelsea 35 75
3 Manchester City 33 71
4 Arsenal 35 70
5 Everton 34 66
6 Tottenham Hotspur 35 63
7 Manchester United 33 57
8 Southampton 35 49
9 Newcastle United 35 46
10 Stoke City 35 44
11 Crystal Palace 35 43
12 West Ham United 35 37
13 Swansea City 35 36
14 Hull City 34 36
15 Aston Villa 34 35
16 West Bromwich Albion 33 33
17 Norwich City 35 32
18 Cardiff City 35 30
19 Fulham 35 30
20 Sunderland 34 29

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