Man City respond to instant setback to beat Aston Villa despite Stones seeing red

Date published: Wednesday 21st April 2021 10:09 - Samuel Bannister

Manchester City came from behind to claim a 2-1 win over Aston Villa in a game in which both John Stones and Matty Cash were sent off.

City fell behind within the first minute but bounced back before the break. They eventually did what Villa could not and held on to their lead. By seeing out the win, they continued their charge towards the Premier League title.

Pep Guardiola made eight changes to the City side that lost to Chelsea in the FA Cup at the weekend. There was only one difference from the lineup that faced Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League match before that; Gabriel Jesus led the line instead of Kevin De Bruyne.

Aston Villa only made one switch from their last match, and that was by necessity. Jacob Ramsey took the place of the injured Trezeguet.


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The build-up to the game was dominated by talk of the European Super League. City were one of the clubs to initially join the breakaway competition but then became the first to pull out.

If they needed any reminder of the competitive nature of football, they got it when Villa took the lead after just 21 seconds.

The hosts worked the ball forward quickly and Ollie Watkins was able to pick out John McGinn. The midfielder supplied a fine finish to give his side the advantage.

City were clinical as the responded in the 22nd minute. The move started with a long ball forward from goalkeeper Ederson and City’s attackers worked it between them.

Riyad Mahrez slid the ball to Bernardo Silva, who teed up Phil Foden in the centre. The Englishman placed it home to level things up.

Wriggling into space in the box, Foden had another chance shortly after, but this time his shot went over.

Rodri puts City ahead

City did get to take the lead before the break. Silva provided the assist once again, with Rodri meeting his inviting cross.

With Emiliano Martinez in no man’s land, Rodri was able to glance the ball into the net to make it 2-1.

But things took a turn for the worse for City a few minutes later when Stones was sent off. The defender took out Ramsey with a high challenge and after a VAR check, the referee upgraded his yellow card to a red one.

A goal down but with a man advantage, Villa sought to get back in the game and Douglas Luiz tried his luck with a long-distance effort after the break.

But Villa soon found themselves down to 10 men as well. Cash was sent off for two bookable offences within the space of three minutes and was given his marching orders.

With both teams down to 10, the intensity of the game dropped somewhat. City kept control and tried to extend their lead when Ilkay Gundogan took a free kick, but it went off target.

Another chance came when Mahrez played the ball across the face of goal, but Ezri Konsa cleared it before Foden could get on the end of it.

Silva also had an effort but sliced his left-footed strike over the bar.

Ultimately none of those efforts were able to add to the scoreline but it mattered little. Villa’s own threat had decreased and City were able to see out the 2-1 win.

They now just need three more wins to be crowned Premier League champions.

 

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