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Villa Park (ATT 38,706) 27th September 2008 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: P Walton

A Villa Aston Villa vs Sunderland Sunderland

Carew sinks Black Cats

Cisse's early goal cancelled out by Villa strikes

By Hayley Paterson.   Last Updated: 27/09/08 6:01pm

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Young: Superb equaliser

Young: Superb equaliser

John Carew's audacious backheel was enough to keep the three points at Villa Park as they beat Sunderland 2-1.

Moment of the match: Liam Miller gave away a silly freekick on the edge of the box after a late tackle on Ashley Young which led to the equaliser. Attempt of the match: Andy Reid had a great chance to equalise in the dying minutes but sent his well struck freekick just wide. Save of the match: Gareth Barry will wonder how he missed but after Craig Gordon spilled John Carew's initial pull-back, Barry followed up and the Scottish keeper got his body in the way to block from three yards out. Talking point: A lot of fans dared speak about the prospect of Europe so are Villa and Sunderland capable of producing a couple of shock this season? Man of the match: Has to be John Carew for me. He was involved in a lot of Villa's play, bullying the Sunderland defence and being a general nuisance!

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.

Unchanged

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.

Drew level

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 VillaTeam StatisticsSunderland
2Goals1
21st Half Goals1
5Shots on Target2
4Shots off Target6
4Blocked Shots1
5Corners5
8Fouls10
0Offsides1
1Yellow Cards1
0Red Cards0
73.9Passing Success81.4
20Tackles33
65Tackles Success72.7
45.3Possession54.7
47.8Territorial Advantage52.2

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Barclays Premier League

Barclays Premier League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Liverpool 34 77
2 Chelsea 35 75
3 Manchester City 33 71
4 Arsenal 34 67
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 33 36
15 Aston Villa 34 35
16 West Bromwich Albion 33 33
17 Norwich City 34 32
18 Cardiff City 35 30
19 Fulham 35 30
20 Sunderland 34 29

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