Aston Villa beat Crystal Palace 2-0 to boost survival hopes
Aston Villa 2-0 Crystal Palace: Egypt international Trezeguet nets twice to boost Aston Villa’s survival hopes at Villa Park.
(African Stand) — Egypt international Trezeguet injected life into Aston Villa’s survival hopes with two goals to secure a crucial win as Crystal Palace were defeated 2-0 at Villa Park.
Trezeguet was sent off in the reverse of this fixture back in August, and Jordan Ayew’s strike secured a 1-0 win for Palace at Selhurst Park.
But the 25-year-old made amends for that here today, albeit after a stroke of fortune for the hosts.
Palace should have been ahead inside the opening ten minutes when Mamadou Sakho scored his first goal since 2017, only for VAR to harshly rule the goal out for handball in what would prove to be a rare moment of attacking threat from the visitors.
Roy Hodgson had warned Aston Villa in the lead up to this match that Wilfried Zaha was rediscovering his best form. But the Ivory Coast star was racially abused by Villa fans on Instagram ahead of the match, including a vile warning of the consequences he would face if he was to score at Villa Park.
And passion was certainly running high in his veins when he was involved in a heated altercation with Tyrone Mings which saw both players, and Sakho, booked by referee Martin Atkinson.
Those moments, along with a spurned double chance from Christian Benteke, were Palace’s only real moments of note in the attacking third, but after Mbwana Samatta wasted a glorious chance to put Villa ahead, the teams seemed destined to go into half-time level.
But in the final of five added-on minutes of stoppage time, an unmarked Trezeguet volleyed home at the back post to fire Villa ahead.
Villa boss Dean Smith punched the air in delight, knowing that victory would see his side close the gap on Watford to four points in the fading fight for survival.
Villa thought they were given a golden chance to extend their lead moments after the restart when Patrick Van Aanholt was adjudged to how tripped Jack Grealish in the box.
Referee Atkinson awarded the spot-kick, only for VAR to overrule the decision with the free-kick in fact going the other way.
If Villa felt aggrieved by that decision they certainly didn’t show it.
Trezeguet was one again quickest to react as the Palace defence left the Egyptian unmarked again at the back post, and he duly poked home to double Villa’s lead just before the hour mark.
Hodgson looked to kick-start his sides moments later with a double substitution – they’re a third of the match after James McCarthy replaced James McArthur at half-time due to a thigh injury – as Andros Townsend and Jairo Riedewald replacing Jordan Ayew and Cheikou Kouyate.
But Palace remained lifeless in the attack, and the win – Villa’s first in the Premier League since January – sees them move within four points of safety with four matches remaining.
Benteke’s frustrating afternoon was capped, with the Palace striker sent off for kicking out at a Villa player after the full-time whistle.