After the weekends frustrating game at Wolves, Villa had another tough trip to Sunderland, this time in the Carling Cup. With Randy Lerner’s tremendous gesture, there was 34 coaches lined up on Witton Road yesterday afternoon. The place was heaving with Villa fans and you could sense it was going to be a good day.
We finally arrived in Sunderland after 3 and a half hours and got into the stadium to find that MON had made only three changes. Brad Guzan in for Brad Friedel. Nigel Reo-Coker in for Steve Sidwell and Emile Heskey replacing John Carew. An incredibly strong line up. Think he wants to finally go and try and win the trophy this year.
Villa fans were in fine voice all match. The game started very scrappy indeed and Villa had the first chance after only a few minutes. A cross came in from the right and Emile Heskey just put it wide of the post. After that there wasn’t a lot else in the first half. Sunderland had a tame shot go wide and Jordan Henderson had a stinging shot saved by Brad Guzan well.
Villa started the second half well. James Milner’s cross narrowly missed by Gabby Agbonlahor and Ashley Young. Villa’s best chance of the game then fell to Agbonlahor. Milner’s through ball fell right into Agbonlahor’s path but he shot right at Craig Gordon in the Sunderland goal. Sunderland then had the best opportunity of the second half. Carlos Cuellar was harshly penalised for a handball in the box. In all honesty, it looked to me like it was outside the box. I haven’t seen it back yet so i can’t comment too much but definitely looked outside to me. Phil Dowd seemed to hesitate on it as well. Kenywne Jones stepped up but it was an incredibly poor penalty and his weak effort was saved easily by Brad Guzan. Cue celebrations in the away end.
Extra time followed and it was even duller affair than the 90 minutes was. And so followed the dreaded penalty shootout. It was decided that the penalties would be taken in front of the travelling faithful much to our delight.
Penalties: – Andy Reid against Brad Guzan- Saved
John Carew against Craig Gordon- Scores
Lorik Cana against Brad Guzan- Saved
James Collins against Craig Gordon- Scores
Steed Malbranque against Brad Guzan- Scores
Gabby Agbonlahor against Craig Gordon- Saved
Jordan Henderson against Brad Guzan- Saved
Ashley Young against Craig Gordon- Scores
Villa win 3-1 on Pens
Villa fans were ecstatic in the stands as Villa progressed to the quarter finals. Songs of Brad Guzan my Lord and Were Going to Wembley came out and we could all enjoy our long journey home.
Brad Guzan – 10
Can’t be any less on a night like that
Carlos Cuellar – 7
Stephen Warnock – 7
Richard Dunne – 7
James Collins – 7
Milner – 6
Bundles of energy, didn’t create too much though.
Ashley Young – 6
Did ok’ish, also didn’t create enough
Stiliyan Petrov – 6
Didn’t notice him too much
Nigel Reo-Coker – 6
Same as Petrov
Emile Heskey – 7
Played well, won flick on’s and was our best forward on the night.
Gabby Agbonlahor – 6
Ran his heart out. Shave have buried his one chance.
John Carew – 5
Didn’t notice he was on
Fabian Delph – 6