Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Football: Villa Stand-Ins Get Hamburg Hiding

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Football: Villa Stand-Ins Get Hamburg Hiding

Article excerpt


SV Hamburg 3

Aston Villa 1

ASTON Villa surrendered their unbeaten away record in Europe this season as a severely weakened side were no match for Hamburg strikers Ivica Olic and Mladen Petric in last night's Uefa Cup clash in Germany, writes JOHN CURTIS.

With qualification for the final 32 already assured, Villa manager Martin O'Neill included only three of the starting line-up from the 4-2 weekend win over Bolton in defenders Carlos Cuellar and Luke Young and midfielder Steve Sidwell.

Villa, who had Sidwell sent off in the closing stages, had to play second fiddle to Martin Jol's side once Petric had opened the scoring to pave the way for a double blast from Olic before a late consolation from Nathan Delfouneso.

O'Neill would have been wary of the threat Petric and Olic were likely to pose and the duo pulled the Villa centre-back pairing of Zat Knight and Cuellar, who looked particularly uncomfortable, all over the place with their movement and intelligent play.

It again put question marks over whether Villa have the strength in depth to sustain a challenge for a Champions League spot should any of their key performers have to be replaced because of injury or suspension.

Villa began the game with only Marlon Harewood operating up front and after 18 minutes a deadly piece of finishing from Petric put Hamburg in front after they had dominated the early exchanges.

Piotr Trochowski played a 50-yard ball which picked out the run of Petric who had managed to stay onside.

His first touch took him clear of Zat Knight and the second saw him fire a leftfooted volley past the dive of Brad Guzan into the corner of the net.

Then after 28 minutes Villa were found wanting at the back again as Olic doubled Hamburg's lead.

Marcell Jansen supplied the ball out to Dennis Aogo on the left flank and his cross into the danger area saw Olic get in front of Cuellar and angle his header past Guzan via the inside of a post. …

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