Classy Villa flourish on day one of Hong Kong Soccer Sevens
Villa swept aside their opposition on day one of the HKFC International Soccer Sevens to cruise into the quarter-finals.
Nine goals scored and none conceded in three matches saw the defending champions top Group C.
It means the boys in claret and blue will be back tomorrow for the knockout stages, with Celtic or Liverpool the likely opponents in the last eight.
The stars of the show were hotshots Harry Forrester and Andreas Weimann who scored four goals each as Villa defeated Hong Kong Football Club Captain's Select 4-0, before winning 3-0 over Eastleigh and 2-0 against Citizen.
Most of the squad enjoyed a decent amount of playing time in the 14 minute-long games - although defender Nathan Baker sat out as a precaution after sustaining an ankle injury.
Academy coach Ben Petty also saw some action as the extra man in Villa's squad.
The boys in claret and blue fielded the same starting line-up for the opening two games - defenders Eric Lichaj and Shane Lowry playing in front of goalkeeper Benjamin Siegrist, with a midfield trio of skipper Jonathan Hogg, Chris Herd and Forrester supporting lone striker Weimann.
The team's Soccer Sevens campaign came alive after just 30 seconds when Forrester cut in from the left-hand side and slotted past Captain's Select 'keeper Kowk Hei Ng.
And Weimann opened his account with four minutes played, rounding off a neat passing move by tucking a close-range effort into the bottom corner.
The Austrian striker bagged his second soon after the break with an unstoppable shot from the edge of the penalty area.
The pick of Villa's goals came three minutes from time when Forrester collected Hogg's pass and hit delightful angled shot with the outside of his right foot.
Substitutes Daniel Johnson and Ellis Deeney were introduced late on and there was time for U18s captain Johnson to test Kwok Hei with a trademark low drive.
With a resounding opening success under their belts, Villa went into game two against Blue Square South outfit Eastleigh high on confidence.
The non-league side initially proved difficult to break down before being unlocked by some more Forrester magic with a minute remaining in the first-half.
After knocking the ball around defender Liam Hibberd, the ex-Kilmarnock loanee powered a shot against the post before following up with an equally ferocious effort which nestled in the far corner.
He fashioned another opening after collecting Lichaj's pass on the edge of the box but goalkeeper Frederick Toomer saved, while Weimann shot over the bar from Lowry's low cross.
Two late goals ensured Villa had one foot in the quarter-finals.
Firstly, Johnson won back possession before Forrester met his lay-off and tucked away another neat finish. Then, in the final minute, Weimann produced a carbon copy effort to make it three.
It took the man from Vienna just over a minute to put Villa ahead in the final group fixture against Citizen.
Coach Kevin MacDonald handed starts to Deeney and Johnson in game three, with Herd and Forrester sitting out.
The deadlock was broken when Weimann collected Lowry's pass inside the box, controlled, turned and finished with his left foot.
He then played in Lichaj who motored into the box only to see his shot blocked.
Hogg opened his account on the stroke of half-time with a first-time effort across the goalkeeper from Lichaj's lay-off.
Villa controlled possession after the break to ensure another victory and another clean sheet.
The team will be back at Hong Kong Football Club tomorrow for a quarter-final game which will kick off at 11.25am Hong Kong time - that's 4.25am in the UK.
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