VILLA 0-1 Sunderland
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22nd Mar 2008
VILLA 0-1 Sunderland

Villa's European ambitions received another huge body blow on an afternoon when weather conditions ruled out any hope of enterprising football.

As an error strewn match seemed to be heading for a goalless stalemate, Michael Chopra gave the visitors all three points on another frustrating afternoon for Martin O'Neill's men.

Maloney's angled right-foot drive was charged down by Evans on two.

Bardsley headed clear from Maloney on eight as Villa enjoyed plenty of early possession.

Collins half cleared Agbonlahor's left-wing centre on nine and as Villa continued to press Carew fired narrowly wide with an overhead effort.

Laursen fired high into the Holte End from distance on 12.

Knight deflected O'Donovan's rising shot behind for a corner a minute later.

O'Donovan fired high over the bar as he met Richardson's low left-wing cross on 20.

O'Donovan might have opened the scoring on 26, but headed Murphy's left-wing cross over the bar from close range.

Gardner sent an angled drive straight at Gordon three minutes later.

Reid sent a low free-kick just past the post from 25 yards on 34.

Maloney sent a dipping free-kick from the edge of the box wide into the Holte End a minute later.

Collins fired narrowly wide with a shot on the turn five minutes before the interval.

Gordon palmed Carew's looping header from a Barry free-kick onto the roof of the net on 41.

The Sunderland keeper then did well to block Carew's shot on the turn from the resulting corner.

Edwards robbed Maloney of possession on 50, but fired high over the bar from 30 yards.

Gordon punched Young's inswinging free-kick away to safety on 54. The Sunderland keeper then did well to stop Agbonlahor's low cross cum shot moments later.

Harewood replaced Reo-Coker on 57 and almost broke the deadlock a minute later, sending a low shot just past the post.

Agbonlahor just failed to connect with Maloney's cross from the left on 62.

Agbonlahor flashed a low righty-foot centre across the face of goal from the right on 67.

Murphy fired into the side-netting as Sunderland launched a quick counter attack on 73.

Harewood raced onto Carew's flick on 78, but fired into the side-netting.

Leadbitter sent a wayward shot across the edge of the Villa box a minute later.

Young fired high into the North Stand after combining with Agbonlahor on 80.

Sunderland had the lead on 83 as Chopra chased a long clearance, Carson hesitated and the striker lifted the ball over the Villa keeper.

Agbonlahor was brilliantly denied by Gordon on 85 as he looked to level matters with an angled drive from the right.

VILLA Carson, Bouma, Gardner, Laursen, Knight, Reo-Coker, Barry, Maloney, Young, Agbonlahor, Carew. Subs: Taylor, Harewood (for Reo-Coker 57), Salifou, Petrov, Osbourne (for Maloney 74).

Sunderland: Gordon, Nosworthy, Edwards, Whitehead, Richardson, Murphy, Collins, Reid, O'Donovan, Bardsley (booked 34), Evans. Subs: Fulop, Chopra (for O'Donovan 60), Leadbitter (for Edwards 67), Yorke (for Murphy 87), Prica.

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