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Manchester City 2 Aston Villa 0 – Late goals give Pep Guardiola’s City a hard-fought win
2020-21 EPL match report: Manchester City vs Aston Villa – Wednesday, 20th January 2021
Manchester City 2 Aston Villa 0 – Etihad stadium
Goals from Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan late in the second-half gave Manchester City a hard-earned win at the Etihad stadium against Aston Villa on Wednesday night. Dean Smith fielded a first team, who played their first game since New Year's Day.
Villa, though, showed no after-effects of their 19-day hiatus as they produced a determined defensive display against a dominant City side. They held on resolutely till the 79th minute when the hosts found their first goal under controversial circumstances.
Rodri was seen coming back from an offside position to feed a ball to Silva, who fired home from the edge of the box. The VAR let the goal stand as Villa defender Tyrone Mings had chested the ball into Rodri's path which indicated that the original move had ended and the Spaniard was free to carry on with the play much to the vociferous protests of Villa boss Smith resulting in him being sent off. Gundogan made sure of three points for his side off a penalty after Matty Cash had handled a Gabriel Jesus header inside the box.
The hosts had numerous chances to go ahead from the 24 attempts they made till the time of their first goal. They could have set the tone in as early as the 4th minute when Silva failed to convert from close-range a ball that was headed off a corner into his path but Villa keeper Emiliano Martinez made a brave save with his feet to deny the Spanish international. City came even closer to getting their first goal just after the break when Joao Cancelo's shot bounced back off the bar.
Villa, too, created chances of their own with Bertrand Traore making the most of a slip-up by Kevin de Bruyne but his curling shot was brilliantly saved by City custodian Ederson who was again forced into clawing away a goalbound effort from Douglas Luiz a little later as he went onto safely secure a fifth consecutive clean sheet for his side.
City are still on the second spot with 38 points and two behind Manchester United but with a game in hand. Villa have dropped to the 11th spot with 26 points but are still three games short of the nineteen they should have played by now.