A wondergoal from Jhon Duran, and two more extra-time goals from Douglas Luiz and Leon Bailey spared Aston Villa’s blushes as they continued their strong home form.

Words: Regan Foy | @findfoy


Aston Villa returned to action post-International Break this afternoon, welcoming Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace to Villa Park. Nicolo Zaniolo made his first start and his home debut, while Alex Moreno returned to the matchday squad for the first time this season – albeit from the bench.

The home side absolutely started with more attacking intent – but movement seemed a little slow from Unai Emery’s men. The opening quarter of an hour didn’t see either side challenge the opposition goalkeeper – but the 18th saw Ollie Watkins force Sam Johnstone into a strong save down to his left hand side.

The hint of a first goal came out of nowhere for Villa. After a period of Crystal Palace attacks, the home side reset and Pau Torres fired a spanning pass over the heads of the Palace defence, which Moussa Diaby was able to connect with with an exquisite first touch and fire into the back of the net. However, after a VAR review, Diaby was rightly called offside.

On the brink of half time there were shouts for a penalty as Moussa Diaby’s rocketed shot bounced off Chris Richard’s hand – but after a quick check the decision was to continue with the game.

The first half was rather a boring one – Aston Villa were the team on top but were struggling to get into third gear against Palace’s resolute system.


The start of the second was a completely different story, and the home side conceded early on. Edouard found himself with acres of space after some poor defensive teamwork from Pau Torres and Ezri Konsa left Martinez scrambling – and slipping – to try and get to the ball. Edouard slotted the ball into the net keenly.

The 57th minute saw two changes from Unai Emery, as Boubacar Kamara and Nicolo Zaniolo were subbed for Youri Tielemans and Leon Bailey. A third change came in the 70th minute, with Jhon Duran replacing captain John McGinn.

Aston Villa were keen to apply pressure as they attempted to push for a way back into the game, with Duran and Bailey both having attempts saved by Sam Johnstone. Ollie Watkins hit the post and was almost thanking lady luck in the 76th minute as the ball ricocheted off the ‘keepers head – but bounced wide luckily for the away side.

With just three minutes to go until the end of the 90, Aston Villa were waiting for something special – and something special they got. Jhon Duran took Lucas Digne’s lofted pass down onto his chest before firing a rocket of a shot with his left foot, leaving Johnstone diving backwards to try and flick the ball over the bar. An exceptional goal from the youngster!

In the 93rd minute, Ollie Watkins was upended in the Crystal Palace box after a great pass from Youri Tielemans looked to set him through. The referee blew for a penalty against Chris Richard’s tackle on Watkins – and was advised to look at the pitch-side screen, before sticking with the same decision and awarding the penalty. Douglas Luiz stepped up to take the penalty and buried the ball into the bottom left – with Johnstone diving the wrong way.

Leander Dendoncker made his way onto the pitch, replacing Ollie Watkins, in the 99th minute.

The game came to a grandstand finish in the 101st minute of the game as Moussa Diaby found himself in acres of space down the left, before squaring the ball to the back post for Leon Bailey to finish to put Aston Villa firmly in the position for three points.

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