Premier League - Villa beat Cardiff at home with Bacuna free-kick

Premier League, Villa Park - Aston Villa 2 (Bacuna 76', Kozak 84') Cardiff City 0.

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Premier League - Villa beat Cardiff at home with Bacuna free-kick
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Cardiff goalkeeper David Marshall saves a shot from Aston Villa's Libor Kozak (Getty)

Aston Villa beat Cardiff City 2-0 thanks to one moment of quality from Leandro Bacuna and one scrappy headed goal by Libor Kozak.

Bacuna’s free-kick, curled into the top corner from 25 yards, was more than a dull match deserved. Villa, for their part, were at least a little better in the second half, when the goal finally came, than either side had been in the opening 45 minutes.

Cardiff, meanwhile, offered little in attack all game.

Karim El Ahmadi had Aston Villa’s best two chances in the first half: two average shots from 25 yards.Cardiff City’s best chance of the first half, and the game, came when Ciaran Clark headed just wide of his own goal.

Villa came out hard after half time and Bacuna’s free kick backed up the dominance - in terms of chances - which came as a result. Kozak’s goal, with five minutes to go, finished Cardiff off.

KEY MOMENTS

4' OFFSIDE HEADER: Villa's first chance of the match, a useful header by Kozak, was saved well by David Marshall, diving down to his right. His reward? The offside flag going up and making it all meaningless.

9' ALMOST AN OWN GOAL: Cardiff came closest to scoring when Cieran Clark almost did it for them, heading a cross an inch wide of his own goal.

76' GOAL: Leandro Bacuna bends Villa into the lead with an excellent free kick from 25 yards, with Marshall frozen on the spot.

85' GOAL: Libor Kozak finished the game with a neat header, when Cardiff couldn't clear a cross.

TALKING POINT: Cristian Benteke didn't score again. Against a Cardiff side not really at their best, Benteke, whose manager backed him for a return to form before the game, didn't score and didn't get anything on target. The forward scored four goals before being injured earlier in the season, but hasn't scored since. Villa could do with him turning up again.

KEY STATS

Aston Villa scored for the first time in more than seven hours against Cardiff.

Villa opened the scoring for only the second time in the league this season.

Cardiff had only conceded eight goals in five away games before today. Now it's 10 in six.

PLAYER RATINGS

Aston Villa: Guzan 6, Bacuna 8, Vlaar 6, Clark 7, Baker 6, El Ahmadi 7, Westwood 6, Sylla 6, Tonev 6, Benteke 6, Kozak 7. Subs: Bowery 6, Lowton 6.

Cardiff City: Marshall 8, Taylor 6, Caulker 7, Turner 6, Whittingham 5, Medel 6, Odemwingie 5, Gunnarsson 6, Cowie 5, Theophile-Catherine 5, Bellamy 6. Subs: Maynard 6, Campbell 6.

MAN OF THE MATCH: Leandro Bacuna - In a game which didn't look like going anywhere much, Bacuna came up with the moment which changed it definitively in Villa's favour. One moment was enough to win man of the match in this game, because it was not, we should be honest, very good.

MATCH IN A TWEET

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