Hong Kong Soccer 7s report: Dream start for Villa on day one
A trio of 2-0 wins saw Villa comfortably qualify for the quarter-finals of the Hong Kong Soccer 7s.
Daniel Johnson was the star of the opening day with four goals as the claret and blues defeated Hong Kong FA U21s, Yau Yee League Select and defending champions Leicester City.
It means Villa will face the runners-up from Group B on Sunday - with a showdown against Chelsea or Sunderland a strong possibility.
It took less than two minutes for Villa to get off the mark against the Hong Kong FA U21 side, with 2012 player of the tournament Johnson getting back among the goals.
He played a neat exchange with Jack Grealish before neatly slotting past the goalkeeper with the first real attack.
And within 60 seconds, the midfielder bagged his second, firing into the roof of the net from close range after receiving Jordan Lyden's clever first-time lay-off.
Lyden and Grealish had further efforts saved, while substitute Harry McKirdy's shot deflected wide as Villa coasted to an opening 2-0 win.
Game two against another local side, Yau Yee League Select, was a similar story.
Henry Cowans showed flashes of his father Gordon with a magnificent defence splitting pass, allowing Johnson to run into space to score.
And in the second-half, Lyden weaved his way into the box before unselfishly teeing up Johnson for a second in another 2-0 success.
With qualification for tomorrow's knockout stages already guaranteed, Villa rounded off their Group D fixtures against defending champions Leicester who needed a victory to avoid a shock early exit.
Craig Hill laid the foundations for a Villa win by making a couple of crucial saves to deny Ryan Watson early on.
Then Grealish turned on the style, opening his account for the weekend by driving home from outside the box just before the break.
Soon after the restart, Josh Webb bombed forward from the back to meet Grealish's pass and slot across keeper Adam Smith.
Villa will now face the Group B runners-up on Sunday at 12.15pm local time/5.15am UK time.
SQUAD: Hill, Webb, Donacien, Cowans, Lyden, Johnson, Grealish, McKirdy, Abdo, Leggett.
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