Aston Villa started off their Cup of Traditions mini-campaign with a well fought forty-five game against second-tier German side MSV Duisburg.
Villa almost took the lead in the first forty seconds as an Ahmed Elmohamady cross from deep found Hogan, but he couldn’t get it past the keeper. Hogan showed his speed by snapping up some sloppy defending to play Callum O’Hare through on goal, but some sweeper keeping saved the day. At the other end, there was a nice bit of keeping from Jed Steer - Duisburg played a neat one-two and tore Villa apart, they played a shot through the legs of John Terry, but Jed Steer denied them the goal with a good save.
It was Elmohamady who ‘stole the show’ for Villa in this short game - his long passes allowed the pace of Villa to stretch the pitch. For Villa’s first goal, he managed to stretch to a rebound, playing in Callum O’Hare. O’Hare raced to keep his grasp on the ball, passing it across for Andre Green to slot home
Elmohamady followed up again just under five minutes later by leading an Aston Villa counter attack. The Egyptian wide-man fired a cross into the path of Scott Hogan who placed the ball into the net for Villa’s second goal.
The pair connected again seconds later, but Hogan could only fire over. Conor Hourihane’s long-range effort thundered against a defender for the corner. Elmohamady and Hogan connected well throughout the match as well - with Hogan having a number of chances come his way thanks to Elmohamady. Elmo certainly wasn’t scared to fire a ball into the box! His willingness to wait and spot a run is certainly encouraging as well. Jake Doyle-Hayes looked impressive in the centre for Villa - holding the ball well and dictating the tempo. This patiences shows quality and maturity well above his age. Callum O’Hare also found success pressing from the front and his energy hassled Duisburg. He showed remarkable spirit to latch onto a lost Alan Hutton cross and play it in. Once again, we see that the future is bright for Villa.
Hogan relied on another source for his second goal of the game. The forward found himself on the end of a curling Neil Taylor pass and used his weight well to force himself beyond the Duisburg defence and place it beyond the keeper.
With that, Villa have booked themselves into the final of the Cup of Traditions and will play Malaga or Hertha Berlin later in the afternoon.