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Saturday, 22 July, 2000, 13:15 GMT 14:15 UK
Merson off in Villa win
Paul Merson
Merson is disgusted after being sent off
Intertoto Cup - Third round, 2nd leg

Aston Villa 3-1 Dukla Pribram (Agg: 3-1)

Paul Merson was sent off after picking up two yellow cards as Aston Villa progressed to the semi-finals of the Intertoto Cup by beating Dukla Pribram at The Hawthorns.

Merson saw red for diving just moments before Villa sub Lee Hendrie had a penalty saved at the death.

It means he will miss at least the first leg of the semi-final on Wednesday against either Celta Vigo of Spain or Pelister of Macedonia.

Debutant Luc Nilis marked his debut for Villa with the third goal in the 61st minute to seal the victory.

But their supporters had been forced to live on their nerves before Villa booked their place in the semi-finals stage.

Nerves

Villa needed only seven minutes to make the breakthrough. Merson swung in a corner from the right and Dion Dublin raced forward to power a header goalwards.

Dion Dublin
Dion Dublin put Villa ahead
Keeper Michal Caloun got a hand to the ball but could not prevent it finding the net to give Villa perfect start.

But Villa were rocked in the 22nd minute when the Czechs pulled level.

Tomas Kucera got free down the left and Danish referee Knud Stadsgaard ignored his assistant's raised flag.

Incensed

Kucera laid the ball into the path of Marek Kulic, who made no mistake. It meant Pribram had scored what could prove to be a vital away goal and Villa were incensed.

Villa regained the lead 10 minutes into the second half thanks to a goal from Ian Taylor.

The Czechs were guilty of some shocking defending when Southgate launched a free-kick and Taylor was left unmarked and his shot bobbled beyond stranded keeper Caloun.

Luc Nilis
Luc Nilis scores on Villa debut

Villa showed more urgency at the start of the second half and Dublin sent a volley over the top before Nilis rattled the post with a shot.

Nilis, however, got his reward in the 61st minute when he finished with a first-time shot at the back post following a deep cross from Gareth Barry.

Villa should have had a fourth on the stroke of full-time but Caloun got down quickly to save Lee Hendrie's spot-kick after Joachim had been brought down.

They will now go on to meet Celta Vigo in the next round after the Spanish side triumphed 5-1 on aggregate against FK Pelister.


Aston Villa: James, Wright, Southgate, Ehiogu, Boateng, Taylor, Nilis, Barry, Dublin, Merson, Stone. Subs: Enckelman, Joachim, Samuel, Vassell, Hendrie, Walker, Thompson, Bewers.

Dukla Pribram: Caloun, Makh, Schindler, Grlic, Mynar, Jarolim, Novak, Smejkal, Rychlik, Kulic, Kucera. Subs: Spit, Riegel, Podzemsky, Otepka, Nehoda, Semam, Zustak.

Referee: K Stadsgaard (Denmark)

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