Carew sinks Black Cats
Cisse's early goal cancelled out by Villa strikes
By Hayley Paterson. Last Updated: 27/09/08 6:01pm
Young: Superb equaliser
John Carew's audacious backheel was enough to keep the three points at Villa Park as they beat Sunderland 2-1.
Djibril Cisse opened the scoring for the visitors when he turned in the box, latching onto a beautifully weighted throughball from Steed Malbranque. The Frenchman drilled his effort past Brad Friedel for the perfect start for the visitors.
But Villa gradually came back into the game and Liam Miller's late challenge on Ashley Young gifted a free-kick. Young stepped up to take it himself from 25 yards out and curled a clinical effort past Gordon's right hand post.
It was the big Norwegian, John Carew, who secured Villa's three points in the first-half as he crept into the box and back heeled Stiliyan Petrov's cut-back past Craig Gordon.
The three first-half strikes were enough to keep the points at Villa Park as the second-half failed to live up to the promise of the first with very few chances.
Andy Reid had a glorious chance to snatch a point but sent his freekick wide of Friedel's post as Villa held on for the home win.
Villa boss Martin O'Neill named an unchanged side for a sixth successive league match after midweek heartache in the Carling Cup at the hands of QPR.
Sunderland boss Roy Keane handed a first start of the season to Irish midfielder Liam Miller but Michael Chopra had to be content with a spot on the bench despite scoring twice in last weekend's victory over Middlesbrough.
Sunderland made the brighter start as Miller tested Friedel when he found space in the box and nutmegged Gareth Barry, but the scuffed his shot.
Malbranque was the architect in the Black Cats' midfield as he worked the opener when he played in Cisse in between Martin Laursen and Curtis Davies and the French striker produced a textbook drilled finish into the bottom corner to beat Friedel.
Villa might have been ahead themselves by that stage with Laursen having headed straight at Gordan when Barry's corner picked him out.
But the home fans did not have long to wait and Villa drew level in the 18th minute after Young was pulled down by Miller 25 yards out.
Young got up to take the set-piece himself and he curled the ball through the end of Sunderland's wall and into the net.
It was another free-kick from Young that led to Villa's second. This time the wall did its job by blocking the Englishman's strike but the loose ball fell to Petrov and the Bulgarian's low cross was flicked past Gordon by Carew for the Norwegian's fifth goal of the campaign.
Villa dominated from then on and Barry might have extended their lead before the break. Luke Young's cross was perfectly delivered but the England midfielder directed his header straight at Sunderland's Scottish keeper.
Carew's goal was to prove the winner but Villa, looking badly fatigued towards the end of their fifth game in 12 days, had to hang on in the second half, although the closest Sunderland went to an equaliser was when Miller send a 30-yard effort dipping just over the bar shortly after the restart and Reid fired wide in the last ten minutes.
|Aston Villa||Team Statistics||Sunderland|
|2||1st Half Goals||1|
|5||Shots on Target||2|
|4||Shots off Target||6|
Barclays Premier League
|7||West Ham United||22||36|
|14||West Bromwich Albion||22||22|
|19||Queens Park Rangers||22||19|