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Last Updated: Monday, 22 November, 2004, 21:55 GMT
Aston Villa 1-0 Tottenham
Aston Villa celebrate Nolberto Solano's winning strike
Aston Villa climbed to fifth in the table courtesy of a brilliant piece of individual skill from Nolberto Solano.

Solano brought a scrappy game to life by acrobatically finishing off a Thomas Hitzlsperger corner.

The Peruvian winger was denied a second by an outstanding save from Tottenham keeper Paul Robinson.

Spurs went close through a Frederic Kanoute header, but there were few positives as coach Martin Jol suffered his third straight defeat.

It makes it six losses in a row for Tottenham, who are just two points clear of the relegation zone.

Things could look even worse for them by the time they host Middlesbrough on Sunday.

Despite conceding eight goals in his two games Jol kept faith with his defence.

The coach opted to bring in Kanoute in place of Robbie Keane up front and the French striker proved to be Spurs' best line of attack in the opening half.

He initiated the first scoring chance as he out-muscled and out-foxed Olof Mellberg, forcing the Villa defender to bring him down on the edge of the area.

Spurs were handed a free-kick in a promising position but when Michael Carrick tapped the ball for Jermain Defoe referee Chris Foy got in the way of his shot.

After Spurs' promising start Villa gradually took control and a Noureddine Naybet slip let in Carlton Cole, but his well-struck low drive was kept out by the right hand of Robinson.

Tottenham threatened sporadically on the break with Timothee Atouba brushing off the challenge of Ulises de la Cruz before testing Sorensen with a shot.

At the other end, Juan Pablo Angel and Hitzlsperger were both off target with ambitious long-range efforts.

Frederic Kanoute makes life hard for Olof Mellberg
Kanoute (left) was Tottenham's brightest attacking hope
Villa were enjoying the bulk of the possession but were let down by the poor quality of their final ball.

They had two shouts for a penalty when Erik Edman tangled with Solano and then seemed to pull back Angel.

Michael Brown saw a low shot easily held by Sorensen after being neatly set up by Kanoute.

Spurs had a brief spell of dominance shortly after the break, with Defoe producing a fine shot on the turn which Sorensen palmed away and no-one was there to follow up the rebound.

But Villa went in front when Gavin McCann flicked on Hitzlsperger's right-wing corner and Solano produced an outstanding piece of close control before converting from close range.

Jlloyd Samuel was fortunate not to hand Spurs an immediate chance to equalise when he was beaten to the ball by Defoe and appeared to trip the England international.

Solano should have made it 2-0 when Cole and Angel combined to set him up for what looked a simple tap in, but Robinson spread himself well and produced an outstanding save.

Miguel Pedro Mendes' last contribution before being substituted for Keane was to find the head of Kanoute with a pinpoint right-wing cross, but the big forward sent his header wide of the target.

Keane was given one chance to rescue Spurs when he was released by a header from fellow sub Callum Davenport, but he wastefully volleyed over.

Villa rarely found top gear but they did not need to as they made it 13 points from five games and are now unbeaten in seven games at home.


Aston Villa: Sorensen, De la Cruz, Mellberg, Delaney, Samuel, Solano (Luke Moore 86), McCann, Davis, Hitzlsperger (Barry 76), Cole, Angel. Subs Not Used: Postma, Whittingham, Ridgewell.

Goals: Solano 57.

Tottenham: Robinson, Naybet, King, Pamarot, Edman (Ziegler 45), Carrick, Pedro Mendes (Keane 69), Atouba, Brown, Defoe (Davenport 83), Kanoute. Subs Not Used: Fulop, Redknapp.

Att: 35,702.

Ref: C Foy (Merseyside).




WATCH AND LISTEN
Interview: Aston Villa's assistant boss Roy Aitken


Interview: Tottenham boss Martin Jol




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