Aston Villa 1 Sheff Utd 0: Ezri Konsa nets winner against 10-man Blades after Emi Martinez’s debut penalty save

GARETH SOUTHGATE turned up at Villa Park hoping to be wooed by the silky skills of Jack Grealish.

Instead, Villa’s victory over the ten-man Blades owed more to brawn than Grealish’s advanced football brain.

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Emiliano Martinez made a flying save from John Lundstram’s penalty on his Aston Villa debut[/caption]

AP:Associated Press

Ezri Konsa earned the points with a fine header and was a rock at the back[/caption]

However it took a stunning penalty save from Arsenal’s FA Cup-winning goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez on his debut to deny John Lundstram and set up this hard-fought win for Dean Smith’s men.

That spectacular save was the highlight of the night as the winning goal – like the match itself – was nothing out of the ordinary.

A bread-and-butter near-post corner, flicked on by the head of England defender Tyrone Mings, to the back stick where Ezri Konsa towered over Enda Stevens to nod beyond Aaron Ramsdale.

It’s one of the oldest routines in the book and the Blades will still be scratching their heads and wondering how they failed to deal with it.

Despite playing almost 80 minutes with ten men Chris Wilder’s team will feel this was a game which they could have won if VAR hadn’t decided to intervene and upgrade skipper John Egan’s yellow card to a red.

What is it with Sheffield United and technology at Villa Park?

The last time they were here we discovered, what the cynics amongst us always suspected – that the Premier League’s super-duper Hawk-Eye goal line system wasn’t infallible after all.

Remember how we laughed when Oliver Norwood’s free kick was fumbled over the line by Villa ‘keeper Orjan Nyland and clearly crossed the line for a goal.


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Until Michael Oliver put his trust in tech and was made to look a mug as his watch failed to buzz and the system failed him.

Not so much Hawk-Eye …. more Blind-as-a-Bat-Eye!

This time tech worked – although Blades skipper Egan might beg to differ!

His evening was cut short when Ollie Watkins, showing all the enthusiasm of a man making his Premier League debut, went haring off to chase a long Mings through ball.

Egan muscled in and appeared to hold the striker back as he grappled with him.

To Watkins’ credit – some would call it naivety – he stayed on his feet and was awarded the foul as his tormentor was booked by ref Graham Scott.

Then the screens flicked up to say VAR wanted a say and 90 seconds later VAR ref Mike Dean decided Watkins had been denied a clear scoring opportunity and Egan was sent packing.

Even with ten men, the visitors weathered Villa’s expected storm as Conor Hourihane battered them with a succession of wicked crosses and set pieces.

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The Blades were down to ten men early on thanks to John Egan’s red card[/caption]

News Group Newspapers Ltd

He was initially shown a yellow card for tussling with Ollie Watkins but had it upgraded to red[/caption]

Jack O’Connell summed up the visitors’ dogged resistance with a fabulous header under his own bar which caused him to career into his own net.

Wilder made a telling tactical switch on the half hour when he sacrificed striker David McGoldrick and sent on Ethan Ampadu to play centre-back – pushing Chris Basham into his engine room.

Within minutes Basham won his team a penalty as VAR was called into action again.

Villa over-committed in attack and with Oliver Burke around that is foolhardy.

It’s rumoured the Scotland international is so quick he can flick his bedroom light switch and be in bed before it’s dark!


Chris Basham won the spot kick when he was tripped by Matt Targett[/caption]

Eddie Keogh Telegraph Media Group

The former Arsenal stopper only arrived at the club last week following his £20m transfer[/caption]


Konsa got up highest to head in after Tyrone Mings flicked on from a corner[/caption]

He combined with Lundstram and hared up the park before splitting the Villa defence with a stunning diagonal pass to pick out Basham who had his heels clipped by Matt Targett.

Once VAR took a squint United were awarded a penalty and Targett received a yellow, rather than red card under the double jeopardy rule.

Lundstram stepped up to test Villa new boy Martinez – and discovered he is an upgrade on Nyland!

The Argentine hurled himself to his right to spectacularly paw away Lundstram’s spot-kick to become an instant fans’ favourite.

The less said about the second half the better, as the game descended into a training-ground routine of defenders v forwards until Konsa settled the outcome.


By: Joshua Jones
Title: Aston Villa 1 Sheff Utd 0: Ezri Konsa nets winner against 10-man Blades after Emi Martinez’s debut penalty save
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Published Date: Mon, 21 Sep 2020 17:53:35 +0000