FT: Sunderland 0-1 Villa - Full report to follow
Gabby Agbonlahor's third goal in four matches against Sunderland gave Villa the edge in the first half.
Agbonlahor showed razor-sharp reactions to capitalise on Lee Cattermole's stray pass across the box.
The Villa striker dribbled round goalkeeper Vito Mannone and applied a simple finish to give his side a 15th-minute lead.
Up until that point, the home side had been on the front foot with Steven Fletcher and Ji Dong-won going close.
After Fletcher latched on to Emmanuele Giaccherini incisive pass and fired across goal, Matt Lowton got back into position and wisely allowed it to run out for a goal kick.
Ji also sliced an effort wide after controlling Giaccherini's cross at the back post.
But later in the half, Agbonlahor picked Cattermole's pocket once again to tee up returning forward Christian Benteke whose effort deflected wide off Modibo Diakite.
Benteke returned the favour for his strike partner, producing a delightful flick which Agbonlahor latched on to. This time, though, his left-foot effort was parried by Mannone.
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