Villa should have won on Saturday afternoon. We all know that. It should have been 3-1 or 4-1, and with Adama or Grealish playing, it most certainly would have been. But, as Villa faced a 2-2 deadlock late in the second half, they were forced to search for a deserved third goal.
With just over 10 minutes left, Carles Gil was on the receiving end of a Scott Sinclair knock down, and found himself with a pocket of space in Sunderland's box. Sinclair's lay off was perfect, and Gil's first touch to poke the ball into the box was also sublime. But, instead of shooting, Gil elected to take another touch and try to go around Sunderland defender Younes Kaboul. As he poked the ball past the Frenchman, he went down and appealed for Villa's second spot kick of the afternoon. Robert Madley, however, had other ideas. Hesitating for a moment, there was the possibility that he would point to the spot, but instead he pointed away from the Sunderland end, and showed the exciting Spaniard a yellow card.
There are a couple of things to address with this situation, but without the help of an AVTV highlights package, a comprehensive NBCSN highlights package, or a YouTube video, we will be going from memory a bit here. First of all, there is the fact that Gil categorically had to shoot after his first touch. He was drifting towards the center of goal, and his first touch lifted the ball up perfectly for him to hit with his preferred left foot anywhere towards the right half of goal, where Pantilimon was nowhere to be found. Gil certainly has the technical ability to do so, and sometimes in football you don't have to go for the spectacular goal, which surely what Gil had in mind.
Thoughts of rounding the entire defense to calmly slot into an empty net must have crossed Gil's mind, but when he tried to round Kaboul, something much more tangible presented itself - the opportunity for a penalty appeal. There seemed to be an ounce of contact, but that was only after a zoomed-in replay. If we are talking in an un-biased manner, that probably isn't deserving of a foul. If Jermain Defoe had gone down under a similar tackle from a Villa defender in the 94th minute, we would be cursing him out as a diver. Kaboul's contact was minimal, and impossible for the referee to see. From what he could see, he made the right decision, and the fault of the situation relies entirely with Gil.
Deferring the opportunity that such a clear opening represented was a fatal mistake, and was Villa's last notable chance to get the result they deserved. Hopefully this will be a lesson to the Spaniard - the challenge that Lee Cattermole made on Scott Sinclair gets you a penalty in the English Premier League - that does not. Just hit the volley.
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