Goals from Bacuna and Kozak clinch vital three points for Villa!
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Late goals from Leandro Bacuna and Libor Kozak saw Aston Villa beat Cardiff City 2-0 on Saturday to end a run of four Premier League games without victory.
Villa had not scored since a 3-2 success over Manchester City on September 28, but Bacuna’s free-kick and Kozak’s header brought Cardiff back down to earth following their 1-0 win over local rivals Swansea City.
Victory lifted Villa above their opponents into 10th place in the table, with Cardiff slipping one place to 13th.
Villa made two changes to the team that drew 0-0 at West Ham United last weekend, with Kozak replacing injured striker Andreas Weimann and Aleksandar Tonev taking the place of the ill Fabian Delph.
Aron Gunnarsson was drafted into the Cardiff starting XI in place of Jordon Mutch, having come off the bench in the win over Swansea last weekend.
Cardiff had waited two years and nine months to enjoy victory over their local rivals, but Villa seemed determined to burst their bubble in the game’s early stages at Villa Park.
Karim El Ahmadi tested Cardiff goalkeeper David Marshall after only five minutes, while Marshall also had to saved from Yacouba Sylla after the Mali midfielder played a neat one-two with Christian Benteke.
The visitors were quick to react, however, with Kozak almost heading the ball into his own net as he tried to clear a long ball, before Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan was forced into action to thwart Gunnarsson.
The two sides could not maintain the frantic early pace though, and the game lost intensity until Marshall was called upon to produce a flying save to turn away a header from Kozak shortly after half-time.
Villa finally made the breakthrough in the 76th minute, with Bacuna curling a delightful free-kick over the wall and into the net after he had been dragged back by Gary Medel.
It was the Dutchman’s second such goal of the season, following his dead-ball effort in the victory over Manchester City.
Czech Republic targetman Kozak killed off Cardiff’s hopes of a comeback eight minutes later, looping a header home after Matthew Lowton directed the ball back across goal.