Jussi makes Bolton point
By Patrick Goss. Last Updated: 23/04/05 4:50pm
Bolton kept their UEFA Champions League dreams alive, coming from behind to earn a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa.
An outstanding display by goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen kept Bolton in the game at times, and Gary Speed hauled them level in the second half after Fernando Hierro had inexplicably put through his own net.
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Relieved by their let off Villa pushed on and after prodding and probing the Villa rearguard finally got the breakthrough.
A fine move down the right released Ulises de la Cruz and his cross was nodded goalwards by Juan Pablo Angel drawing a fine save from Jaaskelainen.
From the resultant corner Hierro got his header all wrong and nodded past Jaaskelainen and into his own to his palpable embarrassment.
It could, and perhaps should, have got worse for Bolton who were thankful that Villa squandered several chances.
Vassell was a mixture of liveliness and wastefulness and he showed both when he did superbly to dispossess Tal Ben Haim but after racing through one-on-one could not beat Jaaskelainen.
The big goalkeeper was on hand again late on, staying alert when Jlloyd Samuel's run brought an Angel chance that was cleared and making an acrobatic save to deny the full back from the follow-up.
The Finland international started the second half where he had left off in the first saving well from Steven Davis after a nice move, and his saves were made to look even more crucial when Bolton levelled.
El Hadji Diouf is playing for a new deal at Bolton, and he did himself no harm with a fine bit of work on the right - his clever cross perfect for Speed to bullet home with his head.
An offside flag denied Angel soon after, with Solano rightly adjudged to have been beyond the last man as he ran around the back and crossed - and the Peruvian was denied by a fine block by Ricardo Gardner within a minute.
Jaaskelainen underlined his quality with two fine saves in quick succession, the first seeing him throwing himself to his right to keep out Angel's accurate header.
Within minutes he had made another important stop when the impressive Davis raced through but found the Finn equal to his effort.
Both teams looked increasingly inclined not to lose in the gritty final stages, although the passion of both midfields was evident in every crunching tackle.
Bolton still harbour dreams of denying both Liverpool and Everton fourth place and a spot in the Champions league - and if they do make it they may well be looking back and thanking Jaaskelainen for his key role in sparing them defeat at Villa Park.
Aston Villa v Bolton player ratings
|Aston Villa||Team Name||Bolton Wanderers|
|7||Shots on target ( Inc Goals )||3|
|3||Shots off Target (inc woodwork)||6|
|17||Total Fouls Conceded||14|
Barclays Premier League
|12||West Ham United||35||37|
|16||West Bromwich Albion||33||33|