Aston Villa shook off their Premier League woes to reach the quarter-finals of the FA Cup with a 2-1 fifth-round win against Leicester City...
Aston Villa shook off their Premier League woes to reach the quarter-finals of the FA Cup with a 2-1 fifth-round win against Leicester City on Sunday in front of incoming manager Tim Sherwood.
After a woeful first half, the tie came alive when Leandro Bacuna curled in the opening goal for the goal-shy hosts in the 68th minute.
Loan signing Scott Sinclair fired in a second from a tight angle with his shot squirming through Mark Schwarzer’s desperate attempted save.
Leicester’s record-signing Andrej Kramaric pulled a goal back with a powerful header in stoppage time but the visitors ran out of time to ty and snatch a replay.
Later on Sunday holders Arsenal host Championship-leading Middlesbrough and third tier Bradford City, who toppled Chelsea in the fourth-round, entertain Sunderland.
Villa were indebted to goalkeeper Shay Given to keep the scores level when he made a stunning save to tip a Matty James piledriver around the post and the experienced keeper said the announcement of Sherwood as the new manager had been a boost to the squad who are mired in a relegation battle.
“Everyone’s got to prove themselves with the new manager coming on board but it was great to get the victory,” he told the BBC. “He was just very positive. I’ve known Tim from the days of Blackburn as a player.
“He’s always a positive guy and he just said go an express yourselves, keep doing the right things and keep getting shots on goal.”
Against a goal-shy Villa side, who have scored only 12 goals in 25 Premier League games this season, Leicester were untroubled in defence and lively in attack.
Marcin Wasilewski flicked a header against the post in the 12th minute and Kramaric was unlucky not to win a penalty when he was bundled over by returning Villa skipper Ron Vlaar.
Villa forward Christian Benteke had a goal disallowed in the 44th minute after the forward had strayed offside — but Villa had offered precious little to excite their fans.
Sherwood was present in the Villa dressing room at halftime and his intervention sparked the hosts into life.
After Schwarzer bravely denied Benteke, Bacuna drove forward and curled a brilliant finish into the far corner beyond the outstretched Australian goalkeeper.
A crunching Ciaran Clark tackle launched a move that ended with Andreas Weimann’s goal being ruled out for offside.
Substitute Sinclair, on loan from Manchester City, was introduced in the 76th minute and he sealed the win 13 minutes later with his first goal since August 2012.
There was still time for Kramaric to pull a goal back with a towering header in stoppage time but Villa held on.