Aston Villa’s rise under Unai Emery continued with a 2-1 win over a luckless Leeds at Villa Park on Friday. Leon Bailey and Emi Buendia struck in either half as Villa bounced back from a shock FA Cup exit to League Two Stevenage last weekend. Patrick Bamford pulled a goal back for Leeds seven minutes from time, but defeat leaves Jesse Marsch’s men still just two points above the relegation zone. Villa stay in 11th, but are now level on points with Chelsea after a run of just one defeat in six league games since Emery took charge in October. Bailey was left in tears after the final whistle in Villa’s previous league game against Wolves after missing a glorious late chance to win the game.
The Jamaican quickly made amends to open the scoring after just three minutes with a fine strike into the top corner after Villa surged up the field from a Leeds corner.
“It was definitely a relief to see the ball go in. It was definitely coming,” said Bailey.
“I’ve had some moments where the ball wouldn’t go in but I’m glad to take that opportunity today.”
Thereafter, Leeds dominated the first half but a combination of poor finishing, fortune and the inspired form of Emiliano Martinez in the Villa goal kept them at bay.
“We displayed that we were the better team, but more importantly it was the best complete performance we’ve had as a team,” said Marsch.
“Obviously it is frustrating with points at a premium right now and you look at the table and the stress of that situation, but if we can play like this we have something to build on.”
Jack Harrison then seemed certain to equalise when he stormed in to meet Luke Ayling‘s cross at the back post only to be denied by a stunning reaction save from Martinez.
Rodrigo finally did have the ball in the Villa net in first-half stoppage time, but the Spaniard had strayed fractionally offside in the build-up to the goal.
The pattern continued early in the second period as more heroics were needed from Martinez to turn behind a curling effort from the impressive Wilfried Gnonto.
But Leeds were hit with another sucker punch when Illan Meslier could only parry Bailey’s powerful drive and Buendia headed the rebound over the French goalkeeper.
Villa’s celebrations were initially cut short by the offside flag, but the goal was given after a VAR review.
Gnonto finally had something to show for a brilliant display when the young Italian international showed his strength before teeing up Bamford to slam home on his first appearance since October.
But it was too little, too late for Leeds as their winless run extended to seven games.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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