Villa returned to the UEFA Cup after a seven year absence on a night of little drama at Villa Park - completing a 5-2 aggregate win against Icelandic side FH Hafnarfjordur.
28th Aug 2008

Villa returned to the UEFA Cup after a seven year absence on a night of little drama at Villa Park - completing a 5-2 aggregate win against Icelandic side FH Hafnarfjordur.

This 1-1 draw was far from a thriller but the hard work was all done at the Laugardalsvöllur Stadium in Reykjavík two weeks ago.

Craig Gardner scored Villa's goal but FH, to their credit battled away, and levelled through Atli Bjornsson.

There was never any threat of a shock though and Villa go into the hat for tomorrow's first round draw in Monaco.

Routledge fired over the bar inside the first minute as he chased an incisive Salifou through ball.

At the other end Vidarsson sent a speculative effort high into the Holte End on four.

Gardner slid in to meet Routledge's low right-wing cross a minute later but could only direct the ball wide of the upright.

Gardner, restored to a central midfield role, broke down the left on seven but his low cross was intercepted by keeper Sigurdsson.

Matthias Gudmundsson cut into the box from the right on nine but saw his rising drive palmed wide by Friedel.

Salifou tried his luck from distance on 12 and only just cleared the bar with a rising right-foot drive.

Gardner almost finished a sweeping four man move on 16 but Siim slid in to direct Harewood's right-wing cross behind.

Villa continued to press and Routledge fired narrowly wide from the edge of the box a minute later after an intelligent dummy from Gardner.

Barry sent a 25-yard right-foot effort curling just inches past the post on 21.

Gardner then fired wide from distance a minute later after a surging run down the right from Reo-Coker.

Tryggvi Gudmundsson sent a looping header straight at Friedel on 25 after good work down the right from Bjornsson.

The goal had been coming and Villa eventually had the lead on 27 as Harewood centred from the right and Gardner fired into the roof of the net.

Routledge raced onto another defence splitting pass from Salifou on 30 but was beaten to the ball by keeper Sigurdsson.

FH drew level moments later as Friedel parried Matthias Gudmundsson's right-wing cross and Bjornsson fired home the rebound.

Gardner sent a right-foot free-kick straight at the FH wall on 39 as Agbonlahor was felled on the edge of the box.

Salifou fired across the face of goal on 42 after exchanging passes with Gardner on the edge of the FH box.

Barry tested Sigurdsson with a curling free-kick from the right in stoppage-time. The keeper palmed the ball over for a corner.

A scrappy start to the second-half saw neither side really press in the early stages.

Knight deflected Tryggvi Gudmundsson's shot behind for a corner on 52.

Harewood flicked Barry's corner from the right to the back post on 56 but Salifou was unable to make contact as he slid in.

Friedel denied Bjornsson a minute later as the FH scorer unleashed a rising drive from just outside the box.

Tryggvi Gudmundsson's weak right-foot effort was deflected behind for a corner on 65. Asgeirsson then fired wide with a rising angled drive.

Gardner's left-foot shot was deflected wide on 70 as FH struggled to clear a Routledge cross from the right.

Osbourne dragged a low right-foot effort wide of the target from distance two minutes later.

Harewood was denied by Sigurdsson at point-blank range on 73. Delfouneso fired into the Holte End from the rebound.

Reo-Coker sent an angled drive from 25 yards flashing past the post on 86.

Substitute Gardarsson was denied by a combination of Friedel and Davies a minute later.

VILLA: Friedel, Barry, Knight, Davies, Gardner, Salifou, Routledge, Reo-Coker, Salifou, Routledge, Harewood (booked 40), Agbonlahor. Subs: Taylor, Laursen, Young, Carew, Delfouneso (for Agbonlahor 62 - booked 72), Petrov, Baker.

FH: Sigurdsson, Siim, Nielsen, Asgeirsson, Vidarsson, T.Gudmundsson, Vilhjalmsson, M.Gudmundsson, Bjornsson, BD.Sverrisson, Valgardsson (booked 45). Subs: Larusson, Eiriksson, Bjarmason, Gardarsson (for BD.Sverrisson 85), Gudnason (for Bjornsson 58), Saevarsson (for T.Gudmundsson 83), B.Sverrisson.

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