Konsa seals Villa victory in their Premier League opener as new goalkeeper Martinez saves the day.
CENTRAL defender Ezri Konsa proved the unlikely match winner after the 22-year-old headed home Villa’s only goal in their 1-0 win over 10-man Sheffield United.
United spent most of the game with 10-men following the dismissal of John Egan, who was given a straight red card for grappling with new Villa forward, Ollie Watkins.
Referee Graham Scott adjudged the offence to have denied Watkins a goal-scoring opportunity and Egan was given his marching orders.
However, the 10-man Blades had the best opportunity of the first half when they were awarded a penalty after Chris Basham was fouled by Villa’s Matt Target in the penalty area.
New signing Emiliano Martinez, making his Villa debut, saved the subsequent penalty from United’s John Lundstrum.
That penalty save and goal from Konsa mean that Villa win their opening game whilst Sheffield United slip to back-to-back defeats.
Speaking about Egan’s red card, Aston Villa boss Dean Smith said: “Ollie made a good run to get the other side of John Egan which resulted in the red card. As soon as the ref blew up for the free-kick, I thought it’d be a red card.”
Smith also spoke about Villa’s performance following the match: “A very good start, to get three points and a clean sheet you can’t ask for more. I thought we started the game the better and the game changes with the sending off.
We’ve worked on Tyrone Mings getting across the near post, flicking it on and Ezri Konsa arriving. It’s difficult when they go in with two banks of four. We probably should have scored more.”
Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder spoke about the decisions that went against his side: “The first one John has got the wrong side and both of them are pulling each other. The linesman can see it so why is he not flagging if he thinks it’s a foul? I think it’s a really harsh decision. It’s a bit of a tussle in my opinion.
“The second one, law changes… double jeopardy… maybe I’m confused and need to go on a referee’s course. My understanding is that if Matt Targett makes an attempt to tackle the ball it’s a yellow – Basham’s placed himself between the ball and Targett, he’s about to pull the trigger and there’s no way he’s made an effort to tackle.
“I am disappointed in the two major decisions. I am disappointed that we have conceded a goal from a set play.
“Why didn’t the referee go over to the monitor? I wouldn’t come out here and mug myself off, if I thought it was a clear sending off I’d say so. I’m not going to mug myself off on Sky. Why didn’t he go to the monitor, why didn’t Stockley Park say ‘it’s a bit of tussle and look at it yourself’?
“It won’t become a bad run because I believe in the players and they believe in themselves but we have stop shooting ourselves in the foot. At the moment we’re just in that period where we’re helping teams too much.”
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