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BBC Sport's Ron Jones
"It was an eventful and incident packed game"
 real 14k

Villa boss John Gregory
"These boys are a great bunch to work with"
 real 14k

Southampton manager Stuart Gray
"We conceded three bad, bad goals"
 real 14k

Monday, 24 September, 2001, 20:57 GMT 21:57 UK
Angel strike sinks Saints
George Boateng celebrates the first goal of the night
Southampton 1-3 Aston Villa

Aston Villa have maintained their unbeaten start to the Premiership season with a hard-earned win at Southampton that moves them into the top five.

Early goals from George Boateng and Juan Pablo Angel set Villa on their way, but they had to wait for a 78th minute header from Mustapha Hadji to seal the points.

By that stage both teams were down to 10-men in an action-packed contest on the south coast.

Marian Pahars dragged Southampton back into the game with a first home goal at the St Mary's Stadium on the stroke of half time.

His good work looked to have been in vain, however, when Rory Delap saw red early in the second half.

  Key moments
9 mins: Boateng opens the scoring
15 mins: Angel adds a second - the best goal of the match
46 mins: Saints pull one back through Pahars
51 mins: Delap sees red for a soft professional foul on Kachloul
56 mins: Dublin is also off following a clash with El Khalej
78 mins: Hadji scores a third to seal three points
And within five minutes it was all level, at least in terms of players on the pitch, when Dion Dublin was also dismissed.

Southampton managed to reassert their control on the match.

But, just after the crowd acclaimed the arrival of Matt Le Tissier, Hadji struck to end the match as a contest.

Saints started with Pahars, James Beattie and Kevin Davies in a three man attacking formation and came close to seeing their adventure rewarded after only two minutes.

Davies climbed for a header from a Delap cross only to see Peter Schmeichel soar even higher to claw the effort wide.

However before Saints had any opportunities to build on their early promise it was Villa who broke the deadlock with their first attack of the match.

In a move that started with Angel on the left flank, Boateng hammered a lay off from Dublin high into the net beyond Paul Jones at the near post.


There was hardly any contact
John Gregory on Dublin's sending off

Six minutes later Angel again started a move that finished with a goal that he himself scored.

After neat inter-passing on the edge of the area with Lee Hendrie, Dublin again dropped a deft pass into the path of the Colombian who poked the ball under the advancing Jones.

However as half time approached the game turned on its head.

Schmeichel was forced into a second world-class save, palming Beattie's fierce drive wide, before Pahars stole in to head home moments before the whistle.

The hosts attempted to build on that breakthrough early in the second half but Delap's dismissal, for bringing down former Saints star Hassan Kachloul, seemed to have checked their stride.


Defensively we were very poor with all three goals
Stuart Gray
Five minutes later Dublin followed Delap off after a controversial clash with El Khalej as they awaited a free-kick on the edge of the Villa area.

Despite playing with renewed purpose, Saints were unable to find a way through Villa's rearguard and it was left to Hadji to deny Southampton their first point as well as their first goal at St Mary's.


Southampton: Jones, Delap, Bridge, Lundekvam, El Khalej, Oakley, Svensson, Pahars, Tessem, Davies, Beattie.
Subs: Moss, Marsden, Le Tissier, Benali, McDonald.

Aston Villa: Schmeichel, Delaney, Wright, Mellberg, Alpay, Boateng, Hadji, Hendrie, Kachloul, Angel, Dublin.
Subs: Enckelman, Staunton, Ginola, Stone, Balaban.

Referee: S Dunn (Bristol).

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