Aston Villa 2:1 Leicester City
City’s bowed out of the FA Cup at Villa Park on Sunday with a poor performance in front of 6,500 travelling fans…
Nigel Pearson made one change to the side that played at Arsenal, with Wasilewski in for the cup-tied Huth, so a five-man defence lined up against a very goal-shy Villa side.
Villa got off to a better start, with new boss Tim Sherwood sat in the stands and featuring regularly on the big screens, though Weimann sent their best chance sailing over the bar.
City then went close from a James corner, Wasilewski’s glancing header had Given beaten but brushed the right hand post.
In a half of few chances City’s next came on the half hour when a Cambiasso dummy made space for James to fire in a vicious shot that Given did very well to get his fingertips to, sending the ball inches wide.
Benteke got the ball into City’s net just before the break but Villa celebrations were halted by an offside flag and the sides went in goalless after a half that wouldn’t have gripped the nation.
Attacking the Holte End, and having had their first half-time team talk from Sherwood, Villa looked more likely to open the scoring, especially as City were having terrible trouble retaining possession. Delph sent a header over the bar and then Schwarzer smothered a Benteke effort.
Delph then sent a shot from a free-kick wide.
Nigel Pearson made a change on 65 minutes, bringing Ulloa on for Wasilewski, but just three minutes later Villa took the lead.
Bacuna cut in from the left and delivered a fine shot beyond Schwarzer and into the far corner to break the deadlock and delight the home fans.
It could have been 2-0 soon afterwards, but Upson put in a fine last-ditch challenge to prevent Benteke from adding to the scoreline.
City best chance of a reply came when an Ulloa effort was saved by Given, who then blocked Kramarić’s follow-up. A few attacks were mounted to no great effect as City by now looked very ponderous and disjointed.
Villa added a second as the clock reached 90. Morgan failed to cut out the ball over the top and substitute Sinclair sealed the home side’s place in the quarter-finals after a Schwarzer fumble.
Somewhat perversely, as soon as the game was beyond them City found the net at last. Kramarić sent an outstanding header past Given from a Schlupp cross to give City’s huge following something to cheer, but it was too late to make a difference.
The final whistle was heralded with chants of: “What a load of rubbish!” from an extremely disenchanted away crowd.
Being able to ‘concentrate on the league’ won’t fill anyone with any joy…
Villa: Given, Hutton, Cissokho, Clark, Vlaar, Bacuna (Sinclair 77), Cleverley, Westwood, Delph, Weimann (Grealish 83), Benteke. Subs Not Used: Guzan, Okore, Cole, Sanchez, Lowton, Grealish.
Leicester: Schwarzer, Simpson, Wasilewski (Ulloa 65), Morgan, Upson, Konchesky, Mahrez, Cambiasso, James, Schlupp, Kramarić. Subs Not Used: Hammond, Vardy, King, Albrighton, Hamer, Moore.
Referee: M Clattenburg. Attendance: 28,098.
All Photos: SIMON KIMBER