Tag: Christian Benteke

FA Cup: Aston Villa 2-1 Liverpool

Aston Villa will meet Arsenal in the FA Cup final after a thoroughly deserved win over a desperately disappointing Liverpool at Wembley.

Villa’s win was a triumph for manager Tim Sherwood as his side produced a performance of style, composure and grit to come from behind and reach their first FA Cup final since their loss to Chelsea in 2000.

As a consequence there will be no dream finale to his Liverpool career for Steven Gerrard. The Reds skipper, who will join Major League Soccer side LA Galaxy in the summer, was hoping to make a final appearance for the club in an FA Cup final scheduled to take place on 30 May, his 35th birthday.

Philippe Coutinho clipped Liverpool into the lead but the dangerous Christian Benteke levelled before half-time and Villa scored the winner their display fully merited through Fabian Delph’s cool finish nine minutes after the break.

Lethargic Liverpool mounted a rally of sorts late on when Kieran Richardson cleared off the line from Liverpool captain Gerrard and half-time substitute Mario Balotelli was dubiously ruled offside when he had the ball in the net.

Villa, however, were not to be denied and the final whistle sparked scenes of joy among players and supporters alike.

The normally animated Sherwood had been calm on the touchline throughout but all his emotions poured out as he celebrated another trip to Wembley on 30 May, on top of moving Villa towards Premier League safety. The ex-Spurs manager, who replaced sacked Paul Lambert in February, has overseen a superb rejuvenation at Villa Park.

Villa had giants all over the pitch, particularly in the shape of Benteke and the gifted 19-year-old Jack Grealish, who played with a calm that belied his years in this hothouse atmosphere.

Liverpool, in contrast, were dismal and once again failed to deliver when the big occasion demanded – which will be a matter of great concern to manager Brendan Rodgers.

Read more at BBC Sport

Premiership: Aston Villa 2-1 West Brom

Christian Benteke scored from the penalty spot deep into injury time to give Tim Sherwood his first win as Aston Villa manager and lift them out of the Premier League relegation zone.

Saido Berahino’s 18th goal of the season looked to have extended Villa’s run without victory to 13 league games after he equalised Gabriel Agbonlahor’s first-half goal.

But with only seconds remaining, West Brom keeper Ben Foster capped a performance riddled with uncertainty by fumbling a clearance then rushing out to bring down Matthew Lowton.

Benteke kept his cool to slide in the spot-kick in front an ecstatic Holte End to give Villa three points for the first time since 7 December.

Sherwood celebrated wildly with his backroom staff as the first of the six wins he says Villa need to stay up was secured – thanks in large part to Foster’s poor handling and a rush of blood with the game almost over.

The former England midfielder will have been delighted by a vibrant first-half performance that was an example of the “front foot football” he is demanding, but Villa went off the boil after the break and needed that dramatic conclusion to get the win.

Sherwood will hope it not only provides the momentum required in the run-in but also a psychological lift ahead of the FA Cup quarter-final between these two teams at Villa Park on Saturday.

Albion’s in-form attacking partnership of Brown Ideye and Berahino were declared fit – but were virtual spectators and starved of supply as Villa dominated the first half.

In contrast, Villa used the pace of Agbonlahor and the power of Benteke to great effect, the pair combining as they took a lead they fully deserved after 22 minutes.

Benteke flicked on keeper Brad Guzan’s clearance for Agbonlahor to outpace Joleon Lescott and roll a finish under Foster.

Agbonlahor thought he had put Villa ahead earlier when Foster fumbled a routine shot, but goal-line technology confirmed West Brom’s keeper had scrambled back just in time to grab the ball as it rolled towards goal.

And Foster needed the help of Lescott to salvage another desperate situation when the defender raced back to clear off the line after Albion’s defence had again been exposed by the pace of Agbonlahor.

Villa’s only frustration was that they had failed to increase their lead and they were denied by the woodwork in first-half stoppage time when Delph’s precise shot from 20 yards bounced off the outside of the post to safety.

It was safe to assume manager Tony Pulis would have had harsh words with his players after a dreadful first-half performance and they were almost on terms early in the second half when Craig Dawson should have done better than miss the target from seven yards after meeting Chris Brunt’s perfect free-kick.

Villa did not heed the warning signs and another super delivery from Brunt yielded the equaliser in the 66th minute, his dangerous corner being met at the far post by Lescott and Berahino reacting instinctively in a packed six-yard box to head past Guzan.

Read more at BBC Sport

FA Cup: Aston Villa 1-0 Blackpool

Christian Benteke scored two minutes from the end to save Aston Villa from embarrassment against Championship strugglers Blackpool.

The 24-year-old controlled Carlos Sanchez’s pass on his chest and rifled a shot past Joe Lewis from 18 yards.

But an under-par Villa had to dig deep to reach the fourth round against a Blackpool team nine points from safety at the bottom of the Championship.

The visitors were denied a goal when Shay Given saved Ishmael Miller’s shot.

Villa’s only other previous wins at Villa Park this term had been 2-1 league victories over Leicester last month and against Hull in August.

In what has been a tough season, Paul Lambert’s side were knocked out of the Capital One Cup by Leyton Orient at home and the manager warned his players not to make the same mistake against a Blackpool side without an away win all season.

But the Seasiders, who last met Villa in the Premier League in 2010, proved tough opposition and will feel they deserved a replay.

Before Benteke’s late strike – the Belgian’s third goal of the season – the visitors had the best chance to go ahead, but substitute Miller’s rasping drive was tipped over by Given.

Given, 38, was making only his second start of the season with number one Brad Guzan given the day off – one of five changes made by Lambert.

The clubs last met in the FA Cup in January 1938, when Villa ran out 4-0 winners.

It was never going to be a goal fest this time with neither side showing much cutting edge.

Indeed Villa were on course for a third successive goalless draw at Villa Park – after sharing the points with Sunderland and Crystal Palace over the festive period – until Benteke’s moment of magic.

While the result will be a relief for Lambert, it means more misery for Lee Clark, who took over at Blackpool in October but has guided them to only one win in 11 outings.

Read more at BBC Sport

Premiership: Aston Villa 1-1 Man Utd

Falcao scores but Manchester United held by 10-man Aston Villa

Radamel Falcao clinched a 1-1 draw for Manchester United as 10-man Aston Villa ended their winning run.

The Colombian scored just his second United goal, cancelling out Christian Benteke’s beautiful opener for the hosts.

Gabby Agbonlahor’s controversial red card – after a 50-50 challenge with Ashley Young – forced Villa to play the final 25 minutes with 10 men, but they held on to end United’s six-game winning streak and earn a deserved point.

Falcao had been recalled with James Wilson dropped while midfielder Darren Fletcher returned for the ill Marouane Fellaini.

Depleted Aston Villa recalled Ron Vlaar and Fabian Delph after their lay-offs to combat suspensions.

Delph had not started since dislocating his shoulder in October while Vlaar had been out for over a month with a calf problem, but they replaced the suspended Kieran Richardson and Tom Cleverley, while Andi Weimann came in for Charles N’Zogbia and Matt Lowton was recalled for the banned Alan Hutton.

The changes made Villa stronger but United bossed the opening stages with the hosts unable to break out of their half.

It took 17 minutes for the visitors to force Brad Guzan into action, though, when he got down low to gather Robin van Persie’s angled volley.

But despite their territorial domination United found themselves behind after 18 minutes thanks to a piece of Benteke brilliance.

Delph lofted in a free-kick to the Belgian striker who took it on his chest, made a fool of Jonny Evans and curled a wonderful effort into the top corner from 16 yards.

It was against the run of play but lifted Villa as United struggled to find creativity.

Guzan palmed away Young’s cross but Louis van Gaal’s side did not do enough to break Paul Lambert’s men down.

Plenty of possession but little penetration meant the hosts were able to quell any United threat with a degree of ease.

Fletcher was replaced at the break by Tyler Blackett but United were almost 2-0 down when David de Gea superbly turned Benteke’s powerful header over two minutes after the re-start.

United needed an extra gear and almost found it when Wayne Rooney’s brilliant pass found Van Persie but Guzan was equal to his shot.

But they deservedly levelled after 53 minutes through Falcao, who thumped a header past Guzan from Young’s cross.

It had been coming and Van Persie’s acrobatic volley flew over as United looked to take full control.

Villa’s task then got even harder in the 65th minute when Agbonlahor was harshly sent off.

The striker chased a loose ball with Young and caught his former team-mate in a 50-50 challenge.

It looked an unavoidable collision in midfield but referee Lee Mason produced a shock red card for the Villa man.

It was Villa’s second red card in two games – but they rarely looked like conceding after that.

Jores Okore cleared Michael Carrick’s goalbound header with 13 minutes left as resolute Villa refused to buckle and Leandro Bacuna fired just over with four minutes remaining.

And in stoppage time Benteke was inches away from Bacuna’s cross as Villa nearly snatched victory at the death.

Read more at ESPN