Premier League
Aston Villa2Cardiff0

Aston Villa 2-0 Cardiff City

Leandro Bacuna
Leandro Bacuna

Leandro Bacuna scored a spectacular free-kick as Aston Villa ended their Premier League goal drought against Cardiff City.

Villa had gone seven-and-a-half hours without finding the net before the Dutch winger's curling effort.

Malky Mackay

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Poor free-kick cost Cardiff in Aston Villa defeat - Mackay

Libor Kozak's header doubled the margin of victory with six minutes left.

Villa also kept their first home clean sheet for 16 games as Cardiff were brought back down to earth following their derby win over Swansea.

Before this fixture Paul Lambert's side last scored in the 3-2 win over Manchester City on on 28 September when Andreas Weimann bagged the winner.

They started brightly, though, and midfielder Karim El Ahmadi's long-range shot was parried by Cardiff goalkeeper David Marshall early on with striker Christian Benteke unable to react quickly enough to latch on to the rebound.

Benteke's strike partner Kozak went close to putting through his own net at the other end moments later when his header went inches past the post.

A defensive mix-up let Cardiff midfielder Aron Gunnarsson pinch the ball on the edge of the penalty area in the 12th minute, but Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan scampered off his line to snuff out the danger.

The remainder of the first half became scrappy with chances at a premium.

Kozak, who joined Villa from Lazio for £7m on deadline day, brought a fine diving save out of Marshall moments after the half-time interval when he got his head on the end of Bacuna's cross from the right.

The hosts looked the more likely side to break the deadlock and almost caught Cardiff on the counter attack when El Ahmadi crossed for Benteke but the Belgium international directed his header wide.

And it was Bacuna - signed by Lambert from Groningen in the summer - who eventually broke the stalemate after being fouled by Gary Medel just outside the penalty area.

Paul Lambert

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Leandro Bacuna goal against Cardiff was fabulous - Aston Villa's Paul Lambert

The 21-year-old winger dusted himself down and curled the resulting set-piece around the Cardiff wall and into the net with Marshall rooted to the spot.

Koazk made the points safe late on when he scored Villa's second with a close-range header after Matthew Lowton had nodded the ball back across goal.

Cardiff pressed to get themselves back into the game in the remaining minutes but the home defence stood firm to secure the points.

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert: "The players battled and were very good. Leandro's free-kick was fabulous. His goal against Manchester City was brilliant but I think that surpasses it.

"I thought we deserved to win the game. I knew it would be a tough game so it's a good win.

"The clean sheet gives us confidence going forward and I was really pleased with the result. The lads were excellent."

Cardiff City manager Malky Mckay: "Ultimately it was a good goal that made the difference. I thought we had played well until then. We had plenty of possession and were comfortable until that point. It was a poor free-kick to give away.

"Top players at this level can put the ball in the top corner and Leandro Bacuna punished us by doing that. We will learn out lesson from that.

"Overall, I'm not too disappointed because if we show that kind of application we'll be fine."

As It Stood

TeamPWDLGDPts
1Arsenal108111325
2Liverpool117221123
3Southampton116411022
4Chelsea11632821
5Everton11551420
6Tottenham10622420
7Man City106131719
8Man Utd10523417
9West Brom11353014
10Aston Villa11425-114
11Newcastle10424-214
12Hull11425-514
13Cardiff11335-612
14Swansea10325011
15Norwich11326-1211
16West Ham11245-210
17Fulham11317-910
18Stoke10235-49
19Sunderland10118-154
20Crystal Palace11119-154
View full Premier League table

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