Tuesday 20 February 2018

Milner sparkles for Villa on glory trail

Ian Parkes

Aston Villa stormed into the Carling Cup final last night hitting five goals without replay in a goal-fest against 10-man Blackburn Rovers at Villa Park last night.

James Milner scored one from the spot and played a vital part in another two as Villa came from 2-0 down on the night to set Martin O'Neill's men on the road to Wembley.

Villa went behind in the 10th minute when Brad Guzan flapped at an in-swinging David Dunn corner allowing Nikola Kalinic to connect with a header that hit Stephen Warnock before looping into the net.

In the 26th minute Kalinic pounced on a rebound from Martin Olsson's header to double Rovers' advantage.

Villa then hauled themselves back into the tie on the half hour. Ashley Young delivered a piercing ball from the right wing which found Warnock, who thumped home from eight yards.

Six minutes from the break referee Martin Atkinson awarded Villa a penalty and dismissed Christopher Samba for a foul on Gabriel Agbonlahor. Milner made no mistake with the spot-kick.

Villa completed the turnaround eight minutes into the second half when Richard Dunne's header from Stewart Downing's corner was helped to the net by Steven Nzonzi.

Two goals in four minutes sealed Villa's progress, Milner's 25-yard drive touched in by Agbonlahor and Emile Heskey's cool finish from a Milner pass gave the Villans a cushion.

Olsson scored the goal of the night with a spectacular over-head kick and Brett Emerton fired another home from the edge of the box it proved to be no more than a consolation for Rovers as Ashley Young rounded off the scoring for Villa in stoppage-time.

Irish Independent

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