Read how Aston Villa ended their seven-hour wait for a Premier League goal to beat Cardiff City 2-0, courtesy of Sports Mole's minute-by-minute coverage.
By Joe Fish, Reporter Filed: Saturday, November 9, 2013 at 14:05 UK
Last Updated: Monday, November 11, 2013 at 00:41 UK
Aston Villa went into their match with Cardiff City this afternoon having not scored in over six hours of Premier League football.
It appeared as though it might be another frustrating day in front of goal for Paul Lambert's side when they entered the break deadlocked with the Bluebirds, thanks to several smart saves from David Marshall and some wasteful finishing.
However, Leandro Bacuna ended Villa's goal drought in spectacular style on 76 minutes, with a 30-yard free kick, and Libor Kozak made sure of the points by heading the hosts' second six minutes from time.
The result was Villa's first victory in five top-flight games and sees the Midlands outfit climb above Cardiff and into the top half of the table. Below, you can read how the action unfolded at Villa Park.
2.07pmAfternoon, all! This is the last taste of Premier League football that we will get before the international break, and one of today's six top-flight fixtures pits two former Celtic teammates against each other at Villa Park.
2.09pmCardiff boss Malky Mackay and Villa manager Paul Lambert were in the same Bhoys side that won the Scottish Premier League title in 1997-1998, a triumph which prevented Rangers from claiming their 10th successive championship.
2.11pmRight then. That's enough of looking back at the past, for now. On to today's matters. Team news coming your way shortly...
2.17pmSUBS: Lewis, Hudson, Campbell, Kim, Noone, Mutch, Maynard
2.20pmChristian Benteke is without a goal in his last four Premier League games and has not scored since returning from his hip injury, but he has company in the Villa attack today in the form of Libor Kozak.
2.23pmThe inclusion of two big men is a change of approach from Lambert, who is without both Andreas Weimann and Gabriel Agbonhalor. The pair are absent with hamstring and ankle injuries respectively.
2.26pmKozak for Weimann, and Aleksandar Tonev for Matt Lowton are the two Villa changes. Tonev's selection will mean that Leandro Bacuna drops back into the right-back position vacated by Lowton, who is on the home bench. Lambert is still without full-backs Joe Bennett and Antonio Luna.
2.28pmVilla's strikers may be on double duty this afternoon, as they will also have responsibilities to help defend set pieces against a side dangerous in the air from corners and free kicks.
2.31pmThe Bluebirds scored again from a set piece last week, as captain Steven Caulker headed them to victory in the South Wales derby. Him versus Benteke promises to be a great battle today.
2.33pmUnsurprisingly, Malky Mackay names pretty much the same XI that started the first ever all-Welsh Premier League clash last Saturday, making just the one alteration to his lineup.
2.35pmAron Gunnarsson replaces Jordan Mutch in the middle of the park and will play alongside Gary Medel, who endeared himself to the Cardiff fans with a man-of-the-match display against the Swans.
2.38pmFormer West Bromwich Albion striker Peter Odemwingie continues up front for the Bluebirds, and will probably be a target of the home faithful due to his Baggies connections!
2.41pmThe Nigerian forward has only netted once in the Premier League since arriving from The Hawthorns, but he is again preferred to the hero of Cardiff's win over Man City, Frazier Campbell.
2.44pmHISTORY! This is the first time in 51 years that these two clubs meet in the top flight. Back in May 1962, they played out a 2-2 draw at today's venue. Cardiff went on to be relegated that season.
2.47pmTheir most recent clash was a League Cup tie in the 2009-2010 campaign, when Gabriel Agbonhalor's third-minute goal was enough for Villa to overcome their lower-league opponents.
2.49pmBrad Guzan is the only man who featured for the Villans that night who is in the home XI this afternoon. He and his opposite number this afternoon, David Marshall, have been two of the busiest, and most impressive goalkeepers so far this term.
2.51pmJust under 10 minutes until kickoff in the Midlands...
2.54pmONE TO WATCH:Steven Caulker will be buoyed by his match-winning header in the South Wales derby last weekend, but may have been disappointed to have been overlooked when Roy Hodgson named his latest England squad this week. He will be hoping to prove that he is international class by keeping Christian Benteke quiet today.
2.57pmPREDICTION: I fancy Cardiff to nick this one. Villa will miss the pace of Weimann and Agbonlahor, and the Bluebirds come into the match on a high. I'll plump for 2-1 to the Bluebirds.
1 minKICKOFF: The minute's silence for Remembrance Weekend is perfectly observed, and we are now underway...
2 minSAVE! Villa create an early opening, as Kozak brings down a cross from Bacuna and shifts it out to the left. He then ghosts into the box to head a delivery from Clark towards the bottom corner, only for Marshall to make a good, low diving stop. The flag was raised for offside on Kozak, anyway.
4 minCHANCE! Kozak knocks the ball down into the path of El Ahmadi, whose 25-yard shot is parried by Marshall. Benteke follows up to try and convert the rebound, but Caulker beats him to it and makes a very important clearance. Great defending, but bright start from Villa.
6 minBLOCK! Caulker shows that he can contribute offensively too, as he brings the ball out of defence, carrying it all the way into the final third. He then plays the ball into the feet of Cowie, whose flick is towards Gunnarsson. The Icelander miscues his volley, which falls to Odemwingie, who spins and shoots, but his effort is blocked.
8 minSHOT! Tonev plays into the feet of Benteke, who holds off the challenge of Caulker and back heels to Sylla at the edge of the box. He gets the benefit of a couple of fortunate bounces, and the ball breaks for him to shoot, which he does, but tamely into the gloves of Marshall.
10 minCLOSE! A Villa man comes within inches of putting the ball in the net, but at the wrong end! Bellamy delivers a free kick from deep on the right, and Kozak climbs to win the header, which is misdirect towards his own goal. Guzan appears beaten, but then relieved moments later as the ball goes past the outside of the post.
11 minCHANCE! Benteke is released down the left channel, and then turns inside to run at Caulker. He twists the Cardiff skipper one way, then the other, before unleashing a low shot from 20 yards which Marshall does very well to tip around the post.
12 minHEADER! From the resulting corner, Benteke gets above his marker at the back post, but can only guide his header a couple of yards wide. This is none-stop goalmouth action!
16 minThere has been a comparative lull in the action in this last five minutes, which does not come as a surprise considering the pace at which this match has started. Chances at both ends already, with Gunnarsson the latest to try his luck - a shot from the edge of the box which Guzan holds.
19 minThe Cardiff physio is required to come on and treat a head injury to Medel, who has gone down following a clash with his own teammate Caulker. Those two really were standout performers in that South Wales derby victory last weekend. Medel is okay to continue after being attended to by the magic sponge.
22 minUPDATE! The first Premier League goal of the afternoon has come at St Mary's, where Southampton have taken the lead against Hull City thanks to Morgan Schneiderlin's first goal this term.
24 minAfter Villa came flying out of the blocks, Cardiff have settled quite nicely into this game and are having plenty of possession, but they cannot make much progress going forward as the ball is not sticking to Odemwingie. So far, the Nigerian is finding it difficult to hold up play and bring his teammates into the game, mainly due to him being carefully watched by Villa centre-back Ron Vlaar.
27 minMalky Mackay's frustration with Odemwingie increases as the former West Brom striker is flagged offside twice in the space of a minute, as Cardiff attempt a different approach - long balls aimed for their lone forward to run onto.
30 minSHOT! Bellamy wins a free kick just left of centre after being fouled by El Ahmadi. The Welshman takes it himself, getting the ball up and over the wall, but not close enough to the corner to trouble Guzan, who sidesteps across goal before making a comfortable catch.
36 minUPDATE! Adam Lallana has celebrated his England call up by scoring for Southampton against Hull. They now lead 3-0, the same scoreline by which Liverpool are beating Fulham at Anfield.
37 minSHOT! Villa attack the Cardiff goal for the first time in a while, as Benteke plays a clever ball inside for El Ahmadi to run onto. He is not closed down by Ben Turner as he travels with the ball before shooting from the edge of the box, but he cannot test Marshall in the same way that he did earlier.
38 minThe hosts have two target men in the box, both of whom are very dangerous in the air, but the service to them has not been good enough as of yet. Tonev has crossed into the box three times and on every one of those occasions, only succeeded in finding Marshall's gloves.
41 minIt has not been Odemwingie's half so far. Taylor manages to play him in behind Villa left-back Clark, but the Cardiff forward back heels the ball into his own thigh and out for a throw in while trying to find Gunnarsson inside.
43 minIf Villa do not find the net before the interval, it will be seven hours of Premier League football without a goal. They have been the team to threaten most often in this first period.
44 minCHANCE! And they do so again now, as Tonev charges down a rare misplaced pass from Medel. The Bulgarian picks up the loose ball and drives towards goal before shooting horribly high and wide. Benteke was in space to his left and he should definitely have played him in instead.
3.52pmA bright start from the hosts, which yielded chances for Benteke, El Ahmadi and Kozak, has been halted by Cardiff's ability to retain possession. However, the Bluebirds have not threatened much themselves, with Peter Odemwingie an isolated figure up front.
3.56pmFrom Villa's six shots on the Cardiff goal, most of which came in the opening 15 minutes, visiting goalkeeper David Marshall has been forced into good low saves from Benteke and El Ahmadi's strikes.
3.59pmSTATS: The Bluebirds have enjoyed 60% of possession, but not enough of their passing has come in attacking areas. Medel uses the ball very economically, but I am sure that his manager Malky Mackay will be encouraging him to show more ambition in the second period.
4.02pmBENCH WATCH: Mackay may turn to Frazier Campbell if Odemwingie's performance does not improve. Jordan Mutch has also shown that he has an eye for goal and the Cardiff boss may look to him if he feels that he needs to get more support to his front men. Villa boss Paul Lambert has Danish striker Nicklas Helenius, a summer signing from Aalborg, as his main attacking option on a young home bench. Maybe he can open his Villa account to end their goal drought.
46 minWe are back underway in the Midlands, with no changes for either side...
48 minSome clever feet from Odemwingie, who is tripped to the floor by Baker, wins Cardiff a free kick in a similar position from which Bellamy tried his luck in the first period.
49 minThis time Whittingham delivers left footed across the box, but his set piece somehow evades everybody in a congested Villa penalty box, with Theophile-Catherine closest to making contact.
50 minSAVE! Bacuna gets forward down the right flank, before cutting back and crossing left footed to the back post, where Kozak had attached himself to Theophile-Catherine. The Czech striker wins the aerial duel, heading downwards and across goal, only for Marshall to again show his excellent reflexes by palming the ball around the post.
52 minPENALTY APPEAL! The Villa fans claim for a penalty after Tonev goes down under a tackle from Theophile-Catherine. The Cardiff full-back stuck out a leg, which Tonev went over, but referee Martin Atkinson was perfectly placed to correctly turn down appeals for a spot kick.
54 minGunnarsson lands awkwardly following a challenge with Westwood and clutches his arm as he hits the floor. That is a concern considering that he missed some of last season with a dislocated shoulder.
56 minSUBSTITUTION: Gunnarsson appears okay to continue, but Mackay does makes a change, swapping Frazier Campbell for Odemwingie, who lasts just 10 minutes of this second period.
58 minTonev is penalised for a tug on Theophile-Catherine's shirt near the right byline. Caulker and Turner come forward for the set piece, from which Whittingham has the opportunity to pick them out, but his left-footed cross is beyond them and Guzan allows it to drifts pass the far post.
61 minBacuna pings a massive cross-field pass from right to left, which Tonev does really well to keep in play and then cross into a dangerous area, but no Villa player had made a near-post run.
62 minSHOT! Villa break through Benteke, whose attempted pass to Kozak is cut out by Turner. Westwood runs onto the loose ball and hits a 25-yard shot which is always fading away from goal.
64 minSUBSTITUTION: Mackay now does take off Gunnarsson, whether that is due to that arm injury that he seemed to pick up earlier, it is not clear. Jordan Mutch is on in his place.
66 minCHANCE! Guzan claims a Cardiff corner and then immediately launches a Villa counter with a quick kick which Tonev chases down. He lays the ball back to El Ahmadi, who stands a cross up for Benteke at the back post. The Belgian easily rises above Cowie, but powers a header over the bar.
69 minSuperb play from Mutch, who turns Baker with ease on the halfway line before cutting inside off the right and skipping past Clark. He finds Bellamy with a clever outside-of-the-foot pass and then continues his run, but the Welshman's return is well intercepted by Sylla.
72 minThere is a goal in this game, I can sense it. Maybe not with finishing like that, though. After Tonev's shot is blocked, the Bulgarian lays the ball back to Clark, whose delivery is a decent one, if only a little behind Benteke, who glances a header some distance wide.
74 minSUBSTITUTION: Paul Lambert turns to his bench for the first time, replacing El Ahmadi with Matt Lowton. It does not sound like an offensive change, but it will allow Bacuna to move into the centre of midfield, and he perhaps has a bit more quality going forward than the Egyptian.
75 minBOOKING: Medel is cautioned for a rather cynical tug on Bacuna, who was surging forward after exchanging a clever one-two with Kozak. Bacuna may fancy this free kick himself.
76 minWhat a strike this is! From all of 30 yards out, Bacuna whips the free kick over the wall and into the back of the net, with Marshall motionless on the other side of his goal. Now that is how you end a seven-hour team goal drought! Bacuna scored a wonderful set piece in their victory over Manchester City, but this one is just as good, there is no question about that!
78 minIt is a brilliant hit from Bacuna, but after taking a second look at it, it wasn't right in the corner, and Mackay may be wondering why Marshall did not move his feet to try and get across to it. The ball travelled a long way, so the Cardiff stopper must have been unsighted to not even attempt to save it.
81 minSUBSTITUTION: Mackay responds to going behind by throwing on another striker, sacrificing Craig Bellamy to bring on Nicky Maynard, whose only goal this season came in the Capital One Cup.
84 minThe hosts wrap this game up with a second six minutes from the end. Cardiff fail on several occasions to clear the ball, which eventually comes to Tonev on the left. His cross is flicked on by a Bluebird head to the right edge of the area, where Lowton does brilliantly to head it back into the danger area for Kozak to guide into the bottom corner. Villa are on their way to three points!
87 minSUBSTITUTION: Kozak deserved his goal after an excellent display, and he now leaves the field to a standing ovation, with Jordan Bowery coming on for the final few minutes.
90 minCLOSE! Bowery goes close to adding a third for Villa. Benteke turns a pass from Westwood into the path of the substitute, who thumps a powerful shot into the side netting.
90+2 minWe are now in the second of FOUR minutes of stoppage time...
90+3 minBowery has the chance to cross to an unmarked Benteke in the box, but is marshalled away from goal by the Cardiff defenders. He instead lays the ball back to Bacuna, who cuts inside and shoots, via a deflection off the lunging Turner, behind for a corner. Benteke may get his cross now...
4.57pmSo, two goals in the final 15 minutes end Villa's seven-hour goal drought and earn them a 2-0 victory over Cardiff. Their two standout players, Leandro Bacuna and Libor Kozak, were on the scoresheet, with Bacuna breaking the deadlock on 76 minutes with a superb 30-yard free kick.
5.00pmKozak made sure of the points with his second Premier League goal, heading in from close range six minutes from time. The victory sees Villa leapfrog Cardiff into the top half of the table, with Lambert's men now sitting in 10th with 14 points from 11 games. This was not the Bluebirds' finest display.
5.05pmThat's it from me for this afternoon. Be sure to stay tuned to Sports Mole for live text coverage of the Premier League match between Norwich City and West Ham United, which begins at 5.30pm. Thanks for joining us this afternoon! Until next time...