Sunday, 2 March 2014

Aston Villa 4-1 Norwich City match report Sunday 2nd March 2014

Aston Villa stunned Norwich City with a four goal turn around to win this crucial relegation battle at a rain-soaked Villa Park. 

After going behind with three minutes gone, The Villa players responded with four goals in 16 minutes; the pick of the bunch being a stunning overhead kick by Belgian striker Christian Benteke.

Villa boss Paul Lambert faced his old team once again in a crucial game at the bottom end of the table and must have thought the worst when Wes Hoolahan scored a tap in after just three minutes when he connected with a low cross from the right by striker Gary Hooper.

The Canaries took full control of the game and looked likely to add to the total as Villa struggled to string passes together. But with 25 minutes gone, and the boos from Villa fans ringing in the players' ears, captain Ron Vlaar hit a long ball down the field onto the chest of Benteke. With his back to goal, the striker scored a stunning overhead kick to put the home team back into the match.

He then struck again two minutes later. A corner from Ashley Westwood from the right hand side was nodded in by Benteke to mark a remarkable comeback which stunned Norwich who had completely dominated to that point.

Minutes later the Canaries almost got on level terms when goalscorer Hoolahan played a one two on the edge of the Villa penalty box with Hooper. The Irishman strode into the box but his shot was saved by keeper Brad Guzan and his follow up header was blocked by Fabian Delph as it crept in at the near post.

Football has a habit of punishing missed opportunities and Villa responded with a classic counter attacking goal. Gabriel Agbonlahor picked the ball up in the centre circle and drove into the opposing half leaving three Norwich defenders in his wake  with a powerful burst of pace. He played the ball right to team-mate Andreas Weimann who in turn played in the overlapping Leandro Bacuna on the right hand side of the penalty area. He cut inside and with his left foot curled the ball  into the right hand bottom corner.
The demolition was completed on 41 minutes when Ashley Westwood picked the ball up on the left hand side and played a beautiful through ball down the line into the corner, Fabian Delph played a killer ball across the six yard line where, under pressure Norwich defender Sebastian Bassong poked the ball into his own net.

The game was over as a contest by the half-time break and Norwich could only muster a few half chances in the second half but that 16 minute spell knocked the wind out of the Canary's sails.

After the game Norwich manager Chris Hughton said his team simply weren't good enough despite the dominant start. With rumours lingering  around his job as Norwich boss, he responded with "it's not something I think about. We've just got to prepare for the next game."

Villa boss Paul Lambert said he was delighted with a "fantastic result" and praised his front three Weimann, Agbonlahor and in particular Benteke.

"For a half an hour  I thought we were blistering and that time was probably as good as we've been all season. With those front three we certainly have a threat," he said. 

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