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Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Aston Villa off to a flyer as Ahmed Elmohamady helps down Hull

Ahmed Elmohamady struck against his former club as Aston Villa responded to a summer of uncertainty with a 3-1 victory over Hull in their Championship opener at the KCOM Stadium.
Villa’s financial issues came to light following the play-off final defeat to Fulham at Wembley in May, leaving the club in danger of having to sell their prized assets.
But fresh investment has so far staved off that threat and after the new owners backed boss Steve Bruce, goals from Tommy Elphick, Elmohamady and Alan Hutton got Villa’s season off to a flyer.
Evandro fired in an early opener for new-look City, who had a summer clear-out under Nigel Adkins, but could not prevent Bruce from tasting victory on his return to East Yorkshire.
Playmaker Jack Grealish started for Villa, possibly pouring cold water on reports linking him with a move to Tottenham, but the 22-year-old still struggled to impress ahead of Thursday’s transfer deadline.
Jed Steer prevented Villa from beginning their season by conceding a first-minute goal with a fine save to deny Jarrod Bowen from a tight angle.
But the goalkeeper should have done better for Hull’s opener shortly afterwards, failing to punch clear a free-kick which allowed Evandro to hook the ball into the bottom corner, just as a minute’s applause in memory of young Stanley Metcalf drew to a close.
Poor defending allowed Villa to equalise in the 14th minute when Elphick, making his first start for the club since January 1 following the departure of John Terry, headed in unchallenged from a corner.
Steer prevented Villa from immediately falling behind, redeeming himself with a sprawling save to deny Bowen in the area.
Hull produced the best football of a scrappy half hour, a fine one-touch passing move resulting in Fraizer Campbell curling an effort over from distance.
Bowen, on his 50th career league appearance, continued to be a threat and had a shot deflected just wide of Steer’s left-hand post shortly after half-time.
Villa were furious when Albert Adomah went down under a challenge in the box, but referee Andrew Madley waved away the penalty appeals.
Conor Hourihane then curled a free-kick just over from 25 yards as the visitors started to knock on the door.
Bruce’s side got the goal they deserved in the 70th minute through Elmohamady, who fired into the bottom corner following a poor clearance from goalkeeper David Marshall.
The winger, who won promotion to the Premier League during his time at Hull, refused to celebrate.
City were architects of their own downfall and when their defence stood off Hutton five minutes later, the Scot burst into the box and picked out the far corner to seal Villa’s victory.