Wednesday 7 December 2016

Federico's fitting winner

Swansea City 1 Aston Villa 0

Phil Blanche

Published 20/03/2016 | 02:30

Aston Villa's Rudy Gestede and Swansea City's Kyle Naughton battle for the ball in the air. Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire
Aston Villa's Rudy Gestede and Swansea City's Kyle Naughton battle for the ball in the air. Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire
Swansea City's Kyle Naughton tries to keep the ball away from Aston Villa's Idrissa Gueye. Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire

Federico Fernandez's first Swansea goal eased their Premier League relegation fears last night. Fernandez had not scored in 57 appearances since signing from Napoli in August 2014 but he chose the perfect moment to open his account, even if the Argentina central defender actually knew little about it.

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Villa might have lost a man when Aly Cissokho received a stern lecture from referee Mike Dean rather than a second yellow card after the left-back brought down Modou Barrow after 53 minutes.

But Villa were punished anyway when Brad Guzan failed to collect Gylfi Sigurdsson's free-kick and the ball rolled into an empty net off Fernandez's right shoulder. Villa might consider the goal an unsatisfactory way to lose a contest but, in truth, it was in keeping with a scrappy game which was woefully short on quality.

For most parts, it looked like a fixture that would not be out of place in the Championship next season which, of course, it could be. Villa are almost certainly doomed after winning only three league games all season, while Swansea could not take their eight-point buffer above the drop zone at kick-off for granted.

Swansea's run-in is certainly a tough one on paper and points will not come easy on this evidence, but they have now moved within four of the magic 40-point mark and the final few weeks of the season should be less tense.

Villa had lost their five previous games but they began with an enthusiasm which betrayed that sorry statistic.

But there was no rhythm to Swansea's play and Villa enjoyed a share of possession, territory and scoring opportunities which they rarely have in this most desperate of seasons.

Sunday Indo Sport

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