NextGen Series report: Villa U19 4-0 Fenerbahce U19
Villa produced a storming display against Fenerbahce to record their first win in the NextGen Series and move in to second place in Group 3.
Early goals from Samir Carruthers and Gary Gardner rocked the Turkish outfit before Callum Robinson and Daniel Johnson scored after the break to give the young lions a resounding success on their first big Villa Park European night.
It means Villa are nicely poised in second position behind runaway group leaders Ajax, who kept up their 100 per cent record with a 2-1 win at Rosenborg earlier in the evening.
'Step into the future of football' is the NextGen tournament's slogan and those in attendance got an exciting glimpse of the potential in the claret and blue ranks.
The inclusion of Gardner in the starting XI gave the hosts an undoubted boost - and the highly-rated midfielder's class shone through in the first period.
Villa made a blistering start, Gardner heading just over after three minutes and Graham Burke aiming slightly off target with a low drive moments later.
With just 11 minutes gone, the deadlock-breaker arrived thanks to a combination of exquisite timing and sheer determination from Carruthers.
A superb run from the former Arsenal trainee allowed him to meet Gardner's high, hanging ball and apply the neatest of touches to beat goalkeeper Erten Ersu.
From there on an intriguing battle ensued between Gardner and Ersu. Firstly the Fenerbahce custodian made an acrobatic one-handed save to keep out a curling free-kick before standing tall to tip over Gardner's rasping 30-yard drive.
Then, on 22 minutes, Ersu dived low to his left to thwart the Villa ace for a third time after an incisive through ball from Robinson.
It proved to be fourth time lucky, though, for Gardner on 26 minutes when he calmly stepped up to second Ersu the wrong way from the penalty spot following Alicivan Duzova's trip on the quick-footed Carruthers.
The Turks responded positively although Villa keeper Benjamin Siegrist remained untested at the break.
Kerem Cagatay miscued a speculative 30-yard shot, Beykan Simsek dragged a left-foot effort wide across goal and Beyaz's sent a looping header over the bar.
Unfortunately for Fenerbahce it was all one-way traffic in Villa's favour at the start of the second period.
Robinson glanced a header into the far corner from Carruthers' inswinging cross to make it 3-0 seven minutes after the restart.
Irish forward Burke was denied twice, firstly by yet another fine reflex save from Ersu and then again by a goalline clearance.
The fourth goal arrived on 67 minutes, Johnson finding the bottom corner with an emphatic finish after racing on to Burke's through ball to round off a swift counter-attack.
Siegrist was called into action in the final minute, bravely rushing out to thwart substitute Oguz Cetinkaya but overall it was a comfortable victory for Villa.
VILLA: Siegrist; Webb, Donacien, Williams, Kinsella; Carruthers, Gardner, Johnson, Cameron; Robinson, Burke. Subs: Graham [for Kinsella, 66], Barrett, Barton, Bryan [for Donacien, 79], Grealish [for Carruthers, 70], Taylor, Caira.
FENERBAHCE: Ersu, Duzova, Yilmazer, Cinemre, Beyaz, Cagatay, Simsek, Zeybek, Noyan, Topcu, Niyaz. Subs: Gunnu, Cetinkaya [for Noyan, 64], Deniz, Piskin [for Zeybek, HT], Oztuvan [for Yilmazer, 70].