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Page last updated at 19:51 GMT, Thursday, 14 August 2008 20:51 UK

FH Hafnarfjordur 1-4 Aston Villa

By Mandeep Sanghera

Gareth Barry
Barry was a committed and influential figure for Villa in Iceland

Gareth Barry set Aston Villa on the way to an easy win over FH Hafnarfjordur in the first leg of their Uefa Cup second round qualifying round tie.

Barry, whose selection perhaps ends any prospect of a move to Liverpool, drove in from close range to put Villa ahead.

Ashley Young lashed in a shot off the post and Gabriel Agbonlahor broke clear and side-footed in to make it three.

Matthias Gudmundsson's header pulled one back for the Icelanders but Martin Laursen nodded in Villa's fourth.

There was plenty of attention on midfielder Barry as his appearance would have all-but ended his hopes of a move to Anfield as it would mean he could not figure for a new club in Europe until next February.

Barry has hankered after a move to the Reds all summer but did not show any disappointment at the diminishing prospect of it actually happening as he started and took just four minutes to put Villa ahead in front of watching England boss Fabio Capello.


He had the simple task of scoring from inside the six-yard box after Young, who was causing mayhem on the left wing, put in a cross which was not cleared by the FH defence.

Young then left his marker in a daze as he wriggled one way and another before unleashing an angled strike, which keeper Gunnar Sigurdsson got a hand to but could not keep out.

It was all too easy for Villa and they took their foot off the pedal to allow the part-timers a few sights on goal.

Atli Gudnason headed off target when he might have done better before Gudmundsson had a shot blocked by centre-back Curtis Davies.

Matthias Vihjalmsson seized on the rebound and blazed his shot over from 16 yards.

But Agbonlahor produced a burst of pace at the other end which was too much for the FH defence to handle as he went clean through on goal and calmly slotted home.

Villa looked threatening up front but unconvincing in defence and Gudmundsson took advantage when he headed in namesake Tryggvi Gudmundsson's cross.

Tryggvi Gudmundsson chested down a cross at the start of the second half and had a clear sight of goal only to strike his effort over the bar.

Villa's grip was loosening as FH grew in confidence and the home side produced some neat passages of play.

However, the home side's defensive display was their downfall and Laursen powered in Young's outswinging corner to leave Villa with what should be an unassailable lead heading into the second leg on 28 August.

Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill:
"There were a couple of scares but we have won convincingly in the end and are obviously in a very strong position for the second leg.

"We need to tighten up defensively but I'm pleased to have won.

"But I wouldn't treat the second leg lightly at all. Our intention is to try to get through."

FH Hafnarfjordur manager Heimir Gudjonsson:
"Since it is obvious we don't have any chance in the second leg we will concentrate on the league.

"The game was over before it began. We let in two goals in six minutes when there was a total lack of concentration.

"I do not know if players showed Aston Villa too much respect, which was not necessary.

"If you go two goals behind against such a team at home, obviously it will be difficult but we tried and showed sometimes that we are a good attacking team.

"But in football you must also play defence and that we did not."

FH Hafnarfjordur: Gunnar Sigurdsson, Eiriksson (Saevarsson 75), Bjorn Sverrisson, Valgardsson, Nielsen, Gudnason (Gardarsson 75), Vidarsson (Asgeirsson 63), Siim, Vihjalmsson, Matthias Gudmundsson, Tryggvi Gudmundsson.
Subs Not Used: Larusson, Bjarnason, Hallfredsson, Birkir Sverrisson.

Booked: Nielsen, Bjorn Sverrisson.

Goals: Matthias Gudmundsson 45.

Aston Villa: Friedel, Gardner, Davies, Laursen, Shorey, Reo-Coker, Petrov (Salifou 66), Barry, Ashley Young (Routledge 71), Harewood, Agbonlahor (Delfouneso 76).
Subs Not Used: Taylor, Knight, Osbourne, Baker.

Booked: Barry.

Goals: Barry 4, Ashley Young 6, Agbonlahor 38, Laursen 64.

Att: 2,200

Ref: Radek Matejek (Czech Republic).

see also
Barry Uefa Cup role boosts Villa
14 Aug 08 |  Aston Villa
Uefa Cup as it happened
14 Aug 08 |  Europe

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