Semifinal leg 2. Knotted at one. At Villa park.
All to play for.
We’ve already checked the Magic 8 ball.
Dean Smith (hopefully) has a more scientific way to make his selection — the notable picks are Nyland in goal (Sky Sports says Pepe Reina has a tight calf) and newly arrived Mbwanna Samatta up top.
A genuine striker — plus another on the bench with the now-healthy Keinan Davis. Trezeguet heads to the bench.
Leicester City put Vardy on the bench with Iheanacho in his place.
The first chance was gifted to the visitors with Tyrone Mings showing what not to do in defense. Instead of clearing the ball he allowed it fall — and Iheanacho pounced. Thankfully the angle was tight — and Nyland blocked the shot.
Villa went right down the pitch through Targett, Luiz & Grealish — in the end an excellent attack was blocked by the keeper’s leg.
The wild start continue as Leicester City attacked — Maddison was in the box and his shot went through the legs of Mings. Nyland did well to get down to his left — and palm the shot wide.
Then the clock hit five minutes and I finally took a breath.
It was Maddison again only three minutes later — with a shot from distance. And once again it was Nyland pushing the shot wide. The save was made much more difficult by going through players and bouncing in front of the diving keeper. It was a high quality save.
After some Leicester City pressure — Villa countered through the middle. Luiz sent a perfect pass to Grealish — sending the captain through where he was faced with two defenders. He pulled up in the box and flicked it to the outside — to a running Matty Targett. The wingback hit it perfectly on the bounce into the far corner. 1-0 to the good guys.
Mr VAR took a look — and decided not to take away the joy.
Villa settled well after the goal — knowing that Leicester City would push. The formation at the back was solid — while most of the attacks were focused down the wings.
After the 30’ mark it was Nyland — ONCE AGAIN — with a stunning save. This time it was Tielemans from distance — and Nyland gets just enough to put it off the bar.
Leicester City spent most of the next fifteen minutes in the Villa half. Villa’s defense was strong enough to hold the visitors to passing it outside the box — and trying to counter when able.
At the break — I hope the entire team hugged Nyland. He was the reason it was 1-0 and 2-1 total with one half to go.
No changes ahead of the second half.
Leicester City started on the front foot — pinning Villa in their own half for the first couple of minutes. But in the end there were no chances for Leicester City from the possession.
Grealish and Targett both had chances to double the Villa lead but both put the shots wide.
56 min — Vardy entered the pitch.
Konsa picked up a yellow card for dissent — after the referee made a bad call for a throw in. Yes the call was wrong. The reaction was dumb. And that means no final for Konsa — no matter the outcome.
Luiz picked up one at 60’ for kicking the ball away.
Second silly booking in three minutes.
After the two cards Villa pushed forward. Grealish fired a long distance shot high and wide. And then forced an excellent defense header from Chilwell with Guilbert breathing down his neck.
Grealish then switched sides to the right — and fired another beautiful cross. Newly arrived Mbwanna Samatta was in the box and needed a touch... any touch to score. But he couldn’t get his foot to it.
the ball in is insanely good pic.twitter.com/asnDdNXAwu— Bjorn Engels Defence Force (@BjornForce) January 28, 2020
Samatta was then taken off for Keinan Davis.
Samatta will feel disappointed not to score — but he had a positive debut for 66’. He will need time to adjust to the speed of the league.
With 18 minutes to go — Iheanacho struck again against Villa. Targett did not track him at the far post and a Barnes cross/shot found him all alone for a tap in — making it 1-1.
Trezeguet replaced El Ghazi with 13 minutes left.
Leicester City pushed after the goal. Villa sat back and tried to counter. They did successfully through Trezeguet with eight minutes left but Trezeguet got nothing on the shot and it was easily caught.
Villa’s final sub was with six minutes left — Elmo for Guilbert. Must have been done for fresh legs because Guilbert played very well. Elmo got involved right away — flicking a pass to Jack down the right. But the cross was easily caught.
Jonny Evans headed a corner wide in the 88’. It could have been the difference for the visitors.
Four minutes were added — and the story was not done yet.
Elmo on the right side with only one thing on his mind. His countryman on the left side — breaking to the far post.
The Egyptian connection was made as Trezeguet put the ball in the net.
DIOS MIO I LOVE OUR CLUB pic.twitter.com/qqwK2ruyE6— Luis Miguel Echegaray (@lmechegaray) January 28, 2020
sports being good to soothe the soul.pic.twitter.com/nefXap3rrH— Across the Pond (@acrossthepond) January 28, 2020
Aston Villa are going back to Wembley — this time to compete for the League Cup.
An up-and-down match — but in the end Aston Villa took their chances — and earned their ticket to the final.