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Villa Park (ATT 36,657) 23rd October 2008 - Kick off 20:15 Ref: T Einwaller

A Villa Aston Villa vs Ajax Ajax

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Ajax 1

Barry strike sinks Ajax

Villa get the better of Dutch giants

By James Pearson.   Last Updated: 24/10/08 12:50am

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Laursen opens the scoring for Villa

Laursen opens the scoring for Villa

Aston Villa kicked off their Uefa Cup Group F campaign in style with a fine 2-1 success over Ajax at Villa Park.

Although Thomas Vermaelen cancelled out Martin Laursen's opener, Gareth Barry struck on the stroke of half-time to give Martin O'Neill's side the points.

The home side made a bright start to the contest and were rewarded for their endeavours after eight minutes when Laursen headed Villa in front.

Ashley Young delivered the perfect corner for the Dane to arrive right on cue to nod home past the helpless Kenneth Vermeer in the Ajax goal.

However, Ajax did not go into their shell and were back on level terms on 22 minutes in a similar fashion to Villa's opener. Urby Emanuelson delivered a telling corner that Vermaelen powered home in off the crossbar.

Back in front

Young spurned a good chance to restore Villa's lead when he pulled his half-volley wide of the near post, but they were back in front before half-time courtesy of Barry.

Young's left-wing cross was allowed to travel to the edge of Ajax's box where Barry was well-placed to gleefully stroke home a clever left-footed effort inside the far corner of the net.

Villa came close to adding to their lead shortly after half-time, but Vermeer scrambled back to his goal well to collect Laursen's goal-bound header after Ajax failed to clear a corner.

The majority of the crowd wanted a penalty when Gabriel Agbonlahor and substitute Leonardo tangled in the box, but a spot-kick would have been a harsh decision on the visitors.

Although Ajax finished the stronger at Villa Park, O'Neill's troops rarely looked flustered at the back and held on for a fully deserved victory.

One slight negative for Villa on what was a hugely positive night for the club was the sight of Agbonlahor being stretchered off just before the full-time whistle with a knee injury.

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Matches

  • Europa League

    Thu 23rd Oct - Group H
    Thu 23rd Oct - Group A
    Thu 23rd Oct - Group F
    Thu 23rd Oct - Group D
    Thu 23rd Oct - Group B
    • Galatasaray
      1 - 0
      Olympiakos
      bet
      TV
    • Hertha
      1 - 1
      Benfica
      bet
      TV
    Thu 23rd Oct - Group G
    • Rosenborg
      0 - 0
      Club Brugge
      bet
      TV
    • FC Cop'hagen
      1 - 3
      St Etienne
      bet
      TV
    Thu 23rd Oct - Group E
    • Heerenveen
      1 - 3
      AC Milan
      bet
      TV
    • Braga
      3 - 0
      Portsmouth
      bet
      TV
    Thu 23rd Oct - Group C
    • Sevilla
      2 - 0
      Stuttgart
      bet
      TV
    • Partizan
      1 - 2
      Sampdoria
      bet
      TV

Tables

Europa League Group A

Europa League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Valencia 6 13
2 Swansea City 6 8
3 Kuban 6 6
4 St Gallen 6 6

Europa League Group B

Europa League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Ludogorets 6 16
2 Chernomorets Odessa 6 10
3 PSV Eindhoven 6 7
4 Dinamo Zagreb 6 1

Europa League Group C

Europa League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Red Bull Salzburg 6 18
2 Esbjerg 6 12
3 IF Elfsborg 6 4
4 Standard Liege 6 1

Europa League Group D

Europa League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Rubin Kazan 6 14
2 Maribor 6 7
3 Zulte-Waregem 6 7
4 Wigan Athletic 6 5

Europa League Group E

Europa League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Fiorentina 6 16
2 Dnipro 6 12
3 Pacos Ferreira 6 3
4 Pandurii Targu-Jiu 6 2

Europa League Group F

Europa League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Eintracht Frankfurt 6 15
2 Maccabi Tel Aviv 6 11
3 Apoel Nicosia 6 5
4 Bordeaux 6 3

Europa League Group G

Europa League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Genk 6 14
2 Dynamo Kiev 6 10
3 Rapid Vienna 6 6
4 FC Thun 6 3

Europa League Group H

Europa League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Sevilla 6 12
2 Slovan Liberec 6 9
3 SC Freiburg 6 6
4 Estoril 6 3

Europa League Group I

Europa League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Lyon 6 12
2 Real Betis 6 9
3 Vitoria de Guimaraes 6 5
4 Rijeka 6 4

Europa League Group J

Europa League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Trabzonspor 6 14
2 Lazio 6 12
3 Apollon Limassol 6 4
4 Legia Warsaw 6 3

Europa League Group K

Europa League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Tottenham Hotspur 6 18
2 Anzhi Makhachkala 6 8
3 Sheriff Tiraspol (Mol) 6 6
4 Tromso 6 1

Europa League Group L

Europa League
Pos Team P Pts
1 AZ Alkmaar 6 12
2 PAOK Salonika 6 12
3 Maccabi Haifa (Isr) 6 5
4 Shakhtyor Karaganda 6 2

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