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The BBC's Alan Green
"Villa created absolutely nothing"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 2 February, 2000, 22:56 GMT
Leicester book Wembley date

Elliott: Booked a date at Wembley with his fifth goal of the season


Leicester 1-0 Aston Villa (Leicester win 1-0 on aggregate)

Leicester skipper Matt Elliott earnt his side their third League Cup final in four seasons with the only goal against semi-finalists Aston Villa.

Villa were hoping to improve their own impressive cup record of 11 finals.



We've been castigated for using injuries as an excuse but I never have. All I've said is that when we have our very best players out we are a match for most sides
Leicester manager Martin O' Neill

But it was Leicester who deservedly booked their place at Wembley with a tense 1-0 second-leg victory over their Midlands rivals.

Leicester now meet First Division side Tranmere on February 27th, with the winner earning a place in Europe.

Villa manager John Gregory had ridiculed Leicester's defensive tactics after the first leg, saying "it would be nice if they tried to cross the half-way line in the second leg."


Izzet: Crucial influence for Leicester

In fact it was Leicester who took the rematch by the scruff of the neck and forced the claret and blue men onto the back foot.

Villa barely mustered a chance, while Leicester's makeshift frontline created a host of half-chances.

Emile Heskey's future had been the subject of debate all afternoon, but the striker shrugged off speculation of his imminent departure to Liverpool and led the line brilliantly.

Villa's back three of Ugo Ehiogu, Gareth Southgate and Gareth Barry struggled to cope with his sizeable presence though he failed to make the most of the opportunities he created.

Instead it was Elliott, the central defender who has proved so valuable up front for injury-hit Leicester this season, who got the breakthrough.

With less than a minute to go before half time, Elliott rose to direct a fine Robbie Savage cross beyond the outstretched arms of David James.


Villa's Phil Gilchrist cuts out a Leicester attack

Although it was the blond-haired Welshman who provided the crucial ball, it was Leicester's Muzzy Izzet who supplied him with the pass.

Izzet, returning to the squad together with Neil Lennon after an enforced absence, was the difference between the two sides.

While Leicester's key midfielders made it time for the semi-final, Villa's most potent playmaker, Ian Taylor, watched most of the game from the sidelines.

But with half an hour to go, Gregory decided to gamble on returning the injured midfielder, who has scored six goals in his last eight games, to the fray.



But we didn't play with enough passion from the first whistle and you need that when you play against Leicester, especially at Filbert Street
Villa manager John Gregory

Debutant Richard Walker, playing up front alongside Julian Joachim, was the man to make way as Villa finally began to take some risks.

Leicester meanwhile seemed happy to let Villa come at them.

It was a gamble, but given Villa's ineffective attack, it was one they could afford to take.

Taylor had a chance to take the tie to extra-time on 86 minutes after a slip by Gerry Taggart, but his miscue was Villa's last chance, and they were out.

Teams:

Leicester: Flowers, Savage, Sinclair, Gilchrist, Taggart, Guppy, Lennon, Izzet, Oakes, Elliott, Heskey.
Subs: Walsh, Campbell, Arphexad, Impey, Zagorakis.

Aston Villa: James, Watson, Southgate, Ehiogu, Barry, Wright, Boateng, Merson, Stone, Joachim, Walker.
Subs: Taylor, Cutler, Hendrie, Delaney, Calderwood.
Referee: P Durkin (Dorset)

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See also:
03 Feb 00 |  Football
Leicester players charged in ticket probe
02 Feb 00 |  FA Carling Premiership
Collymore's on his way, says Gregory
01 Feb 00 |  Football
Foxes trio fit to play
25 Jan 00 |  Football
Stalemate at Villa Park
26 Jan 00 |  Football
Tranmere book Wembley place
12 Jan 00 |  Football
Fulham trio fail from spot
29 Jan 00 |  FA Cup
Tranmere on target for Wembley double
11 Jan 00 |  Football
Taylor-made Villa punish Hammers
Links to other Football stories are at the foot of the page.