Thursday 22 March 2018

Villa goal drought over

Aston Villa 2 Cardiff City 0

Rory Dollard

New Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane was at Villa Park yesterday to see defender Ciaran Clark play his part as the home side kept a clean sheet and ended a goal drought that had dragged on for seven and a half hours.

A spectacular free kick from Leandro Bacuna and a Libor Kozak header proved the difference for Villa, and came as a massive relief to their manager Paul Lambert.

Villa had drawn four successive blanks prior to this match but the Dutch full-back – temporarily pushed into midfield by the time left David Marshall rooted to the spot in the 76th minute – produced an effort worthy of bucking the trend.

"I thought Bacuna's free-kick against Manchester City was world class, but this one surpassed it," he said.

"It was a terrific free-kick. We know he can do it, we've seen him do it in training.

"When I watch him in training every time he hits one you think it's going to hit the target.

"He got it up and down very quickly and there wasn't much room for him to aim at. It was just fantastic technique."

Cardiff boss Malky Mackay felt his side were worthy of at least a point up until Bacuna's spectacular intervention.

"I'm disappointed for the players, up to the free-kick we looked good value for getting something," he said. "We had plenty of the ball and were beginning to cause Villa some real problems. But it was a top-class free-kick. At this level that happens. Players at this level, on any given day, can put the ball in the top corner or produce a free-kick like that."

Sunday Independent

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