Aston Villa left to rue late missed chances against Cardiff

Scoreless draw far more valuable to visitors than it was to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side

Fabian Delph (right) of Aston Villa is challenged by Kévin Théophile-Catherine (left) of Cardiff City. Photograph:  Michael Steele/Getty Images

Fabian Delph (right) of Aston Villa is challenged by Kévin Théophile-Catherine (left) of Cardiff City. Photograph: Michael Steele/Getty Images

Tue, Feb 11, 2014, 22:40

Cardiff City 0 Aston Villa 0

Cardiff and Aston Villa played out a goalless draw at Cardiff City Stadium which does far more good for the visitors’ hopes of Premier League survival than their hosts.

Cardiff dominated the opening half and struck the woodwork through Fraizer Campbell and a deflected Craig Noone shot, but could not find the net. Villa offered no threat during the opening 45 minutes but could have taken all three points had Leandro Bacuna and Gabriel Agbonlahor shown better composure in front of goal.

Cardiff manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was brave in his selection, with Campbell, Noone, Wilfried Zaha, Kenwyne Jones and Jordon Mutch all starting, but there was never any real flow to their play, with Zaha and Jones worryingly ineffectual.

Villa started the second period brightly and Cardiff skipper Steven Caulker blocked a goalbound Christian Benteke header from another pinpoint Marc Albrighton centre.

The hosts were soon back on the front foot with Campbell getting the better of Ron Vlaar, thanks to a touch off his arm, but failed to work Brad Guzan with his shot from the edge of the area.

As the game finally opened up Cardiff’s David Marshall was called upon to make his first save as he stuck out a left hand to keep out a Fabien Delph shot which had taken a wicked deflection off Gary Medel.

But arguably the best chance of all fell to Agbonlahor in the dying minutes. Marc Albrighton’s pass and Benteke’s flick found the striker free in front of goal, only for him to delay his shot long enough for Kevin Theophile-Catherine to make a crucial block.

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